Zili is required for germ cell differentiation and meiosis in zebrafish.

S. Houwing, E. Berezikov, R.F. Ketting

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

233 Citations (Scopus)


Small RNAs exert an effect through diverse RNA interference pathways to transcriptionally or post-transcriptionally silence their targets. The Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) represent a germline-specific small RNA pathway where Piwi proteins themselves are thought to mediate piRNA biosynthesis. Here, we provide strong evidence for a piRNA amplification loop in zebrafish, in which Ziwi and Zili bind piRNAs of opposite polarity. Furthermore, we describe a function for Zili in transposon defense and germ cell differentiation, as well as a crucial function in meiosis, significantly extending the function of Piwi proteins beyond the control of transposable elements in vertebrates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2702-2711
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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