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Endoribonuclease that plays a central role in postnatal germ cells by repressing transposable elements and preventing their mobilization, which is essential for the germline integrity. Acts via the piRNA metabolic process, which mediates the repression of transposable elements during meiosis by forming complexes composed of piRNAs and Piwi proteins and governs the methylation and subsequent repression of transposons. Directly binds methylated piRNAs, a class of 24 to 30 nucleotide RNAs that are generated by a Dicer-independent mechanism and are primarily derived from transposons and other repeated sequence elements. Strongly prefers a uridine in the first position of their guide (g1U preference, also named 1U-bias). Not involved in the piRNA amplification loop, also named ping-pong amplification cycle. Acts as an endoribonuclease that cleaves transposon messenger RNAs. Besides their function in transposable elements repression, piRNAs are probably involved in other processes during meiosis such as translation regulation. Probable component of some RISC complex, which mediates RNA cleavage and translational silencing. Also plays a role in the formation of chromatoid bodies and is required for some miRNAs stability. Required to sequester RNF8 in the cytoplasm until late spermatogenesis, RNF8 being released upon ubiquitination and degradation of PIWIL1.
Subcellular location: Cytoplasm