Wiegand S, Meier D, Seehafer C, Malicki M, Hofmann P, Schmith A, Winckler T, Földesi B, Boesler B, Nellen W, Reimegård J, Käller M, Hällman J, Emanuelsson O, Avesson L, Söderbom F, Hammann C
Nucleic Acids Res. 42 (5) 3330-3345 [2014-03-00; online 2013-12-24]
Dictyostelium intermediate repeat sequence 1 (DIRS-1) is the founding member of a poorly characterized class of retrotransposable elements that contain inverse long terminal repeats and tyrosine recombinase instead of DDE-type integrase enzymes. In Dictyostelium discoideum, DIRS-1 forms clusters that adopt the function of centromeres, rendering tight retrotransposition control critical to maintaining chromosome integrity. We report that in deletion strains of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase RrpC, full-length and shorter DIRS-1 messenger RNAs are strongly enriched. Shorter versions of a hitherto unknown long non-coding RNA in DIRS-1 antisense orientation are also enriched in rrpC- strains. Concurrent with the accumulation of long transcripts, the vast majority of small (21 mer) DIRS-1 RNAs vanish in rrpC- strains. RNASeq reveals an asymmetric distribution of the DIRS-1 small RNAs, both along DIRS-1 and with respect to sense and antisense orientation. We show that RrpC is required for post-transcriptional DIRS-1 silencing and also for spreading of RNA silencing signals. Finally, DIRS-1 mis-regulation in the absence of RrpC leads to retrotransposon mobilization. In summary, our data reveal RrpC as a key player in the silencing of centromeric retrotransposon DIRS-1. RrpC acts at the post-transcriptional level and is involved in spreading of RNA silencing signals, both in the 5' and 3' directions.