Endogenous retroviruses drive species-specific germline transcriptomes in mammals

Author(s)
Akihiko Sakashita, So Maezawa, Kazuki Takahashi, Kris G Alavattam, Masashi Yukawa, Yueh-Chiang Hu, Shohei Kojima, Nicholas F Parrish, Artem Barski, Mihaela Pavlicev, Satoshi H Namekawa
Abstract

Gene regulation in the germline ensures the production of high-quality gametes, long-term maintenance of the species and speciation. Male germline transcriptomes undergo dynamic changes after the mitosis-to-meiosis transition and have been subject to evolutionary divergence among mammals. However, the mechanisms underlying germline regulatory divergence remain undetermined. Here, we show that endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) influence species-specific germline transcriptomes. After the mitosis-to-meiosis transition in male mice, specific ERVs function as active enhancers to drive germline genes, including a mouse-specific gene set, and bear binding motifs for critical regulators of spermatogenesis, such as A-MYB. This raises the possibility that a genome-wide transposition of ERVs rewired germline gene expression in a species-specific manner. Of note, independently evolved ERVs are associated with the expression of human-specific germline genes, demonstrating the prevalence of ERV-driven mechanisms in mammals. Together, we propose that ERVs fine-tune species-specific transcriptomes in the mammalian germline.

Organisation(s)
Department of Evolutionary Biology
External organisation(s)
University of Cincinnati, Azabu University, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences and RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research, Tokyo University of Science, University of California, Davis, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Journal
Nature Structural and Molecular Biology
Volume
27
Pages
967-977
No. of pages
11
ISSN
1545-9993
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41594-020-0487-4
Publication date
10-2020
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106010 Developmental biology, 106012 Evolutionary research
Keywords
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/endogenous-retroviruses-drive-speciesspecific-germline-transcriptomes-in-mammals(f1306ee7-52aa-4a59-b64a-3b2565035673).html