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Chromosome Research

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 233–241 | Cite as

Genes involved in miRNA biogenesis affect meiosis and fertility

  • Mónica PradilloEmail author
  • Juan L. Santos
Review

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small (containing about 22 nucleotides) single-stranded non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level in plants and animals, being absent from unicellular organisms. They act on diverse key physiological and cellular processes, such as development and tissue differentiation, cell identity, cell cycle progression, and programmed cell death. They are also likely to be involved in a broad spectrum of human diseases. Particularly, this review examines and summarizes work characterizing the function of miRNAs in gametogenesis and fertility. Although numerous studies have elucidated the involvement of reproductive-specific small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) in regulating germ cell development and meiosis, less is known about the role of miRNAs in these processes. We focus on the study of hypomorphic and null alleles of genes encoding components of miRNA biogenesis in both plants (Arabidopsis thaliana) and mammals (Mus musculus). We compare the consequences of the presence of these mutations on male meiosis in both species.

Keywords

Arabidopsis Fertility Gametogenesis Meiosis Mice miRNAs 

Abbreviations

AGO

ARGONAUTE

ATM

Ataxia-Telangiectasia Mutated

DCL1

DICER-LIKE-1

DSB

DNA double-strand break

HEN1

HUA ENHANCER 1

HR

Homologous recombination

HST

HASTY

HYL1

HYPONASTIC LEAVES 1

KO

Knockout

miRNA

MicroRNA

MMC

Megaspore mother cell

MSCI

Meiotic sex chromosome inactivation

phasiRNA

Phased small interfering RNA

piRNA

PIWI-interacting RNA

PMC

Pollen mother cell

RISC

RNA-induced silencing complex

SC

Synaptonemal complex

SE

SERRATE

SPO11

SPORULATION DEFECTIVE 11

siRNA

Small interfering RNA

SYCP1

Synaptonemal complex protein 1

TRBP

Human immunodeficiency virus trans-activating protein response RNA-binding protein

WT

Wild-type

Notes

Author contribution statement

JLS conceived the review. MP and JLS wrote the manuscript, contributed to revisions, and approved the final version. MP designed the figures.

Funding information

The authors acknowledge the support of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain (by grants AGL2012-38852 and AGL2015-67349-P) and of the European Union (FP7: Meiosys-KBBE-2009-222883).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Genetics, Physiology and Microbiology, Faculty of BiologyComplutense UniversityMadridSpain

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