Blanks, a nuclear siRNA/dsRNA-binding complex component, is required for Drosophila spermiogenesis

Vincent R. Gerbasi, Jonathan B. Preall, Daniel E. Golden, David W. Powell, Timothy D. Cummins, Erik J. Sontheimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Small RNAs and a diverse array of protein partners control gene expression in eukaryotes through a variety of mechanisms. By combining siRNA affinity chromatography and mass spectrometry, we have identified the double-stranded RNA-binding domain protein Blanks to be an siRNA- and dsRNA-binding protein from Drosophila S2 cells. We find that Blanks is a nuclear factor that contributes to the efficiency of RNAi. Biochemical fractionation of a Blanks-containing complex shows that the Blanks complex is unlike previously described RNA-induced silencing complexes and associates with the DEAD-box helicase RM62, a protein previously implicated in RNA silencing. In flies, Blanks is highly expressed in testes tissues and is necessary for postmeiotic spermiogenesis, but loss of Blanks is not accompanied by detectable transposon derepression. Instead, genes related to innate immunity pathways are up-regulated in blanks mutant testes. These results reveal Blanks to be a unique component of a nuclear siRNA/dsRNA-binding complex that contributes to essential RNA silencing-related pathways in the male germ line.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3204-3209
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 22 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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