Viruses play critical role in evolution and survival of the species

Looks interesting!

Original Article:
Super-enhancer switching drives a burst in gene expression at the mitosis-to-meiosis transition

It’s actually two papers. I can provide the PDFs to those interested. The abstracts:

Super-enhancer switching drives a burst in gene expression at the mitosis-to-meiosis transition
Owing to bursts in the expression of thousands of germline-specific genes, the testis has the most diverse and complex transcriptome of all organs. By analyzing the male germline of mice, we demonstrate that the genome-wide reorganization of super-enhancers (SEs) drives bursts in germline gene expression after the mitosis-to-meiosis transition. SE reorganization is regulated by two molecular events: the establishment of meiosis-specific SEs via A-MYB (MYBL1), a key transcription factor for germline genes, and the resolution of SEs in mitotically proliferating cells via SCML2, a germline-specific Polycomb protein required for spermatogenesis-specific gene expression. Before entry into meiosis, meiotic SEs are preprogrammed in mitotic spermatogonia to ensure the unidirectional differentiation of spermatogenesis. We identify key regulatory factors for both mitotic and meiotic enhancers, revealing a molecular logic for the concurrent activation of mitotic enhancers and suppression of meiotic enhancers in the somatic and/or mitotic proliferation phases.

Endogenous retroviruses drive species-specific germline transcriptomes in mammals
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.

The press release above is pretty frustrating to me. I’m not going to read it but the headline is “viruses play critical role in evolution and survival of the species,” which is both overstated and oversimplified. It does the papers a disservice because “viruses play critical role in evolution and survival of the species” is already well known.


It’s like having my own personal Press-Secretary to correct my mistakes! :laughing:

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Ha, well this press secretary owes you a few beverages as a reward for your patience with the harrumphing.


My old boss (RIP) was infamously grumpy, and that was on the good days. Your grumping barely moves the needle. :sweat_smile:

I believe a press secretary’s job is to lie about your mistakes, not correct them.

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I never mak emistakes.