Alexei Aravin

2012 Fellow

Current Institution: California Institute of Technology

Biological Sciences

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About Alexei Aravin's Work

In animals, specific class of small RNA, piRNA, provide a defense system against the expression of genomic parasites, transposable elements. We found that piRNAs can induce transcriptional repression of their targets by establishing a repressive chromatin state. Our investigation of small RNA partners of bacterial Argonaute protein demonstrated that RNAi-related processes are ancient in origin and conserved across all three domains of life. Furthermore, they suggest that genome defense is the ancient function of RNAi.