4,303 research outputs found

    TEs or not TEs? That is the evolutionary question

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    Transposable elements (TEs) have contributed a wide range of functional sequences to their host genomes. A recent paper in BMC Molecular Biology discusses the creation of new transcripts by transposable element insertion upstream of retrocopies and the involvement of such insertions in tissue-specific post-transcriptional regulation

    The repetitive landscape of the 5100 Mbp barley genome

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    While transposable elements (TEs) comprise the bulk of plant genomic DNA, how they contribute to genome structure and organization is still poorly understood. Especially in large genomes where TEs make the majority of genomic DNA, it is still unclear whether TEs target specific chromosomal regions or whether they simply accumulate where they are best tolerated.Peer reviewe

    Transposable element evolution in Heliconius suggests genome diversity within Lepidoptera

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    Background Transposable elements (TEs) have the potential to impact genome structure, function and evolution in profound ways. In order to understand the contribution of transposable elements (TEs) to Heliconius melpomene, we queried the H. melpomene draft sequence to identify repetitive sequences. Results We determined that TEs comprise ~25% of the genome. The predominant class of TEs (~12% of the genome) was the non-long terminal repeat (non-LTR) retrotransposons, including a novel SINE family. However, this was only slightly higher than content derived from DNA transposons, which are diverse, with several families having mobilized in the recent past. Compared to the only other well-studied lepidopteran genome, Bombyx mori, H. melpomene exhibits a higher DNA transposon content and a distinct repertoire of retrotransposons. We also found that H. melpomene exhibits a high rate of TE turnover with few older elements accumulating in the genome. Conclusions Our analysis represents the first complete, de novo characterization of TE content in a butterfly genome and suggests that, while TEs are able to invade and multiply, TEs have an overall deleterious effect and/or that maintaining a small genome is advantageous. Our results also hint that analysis of additional lepidopteran genomes will reveal substantial TE diversity within the group

    The effects of recombination rate on the distribution and abundance of transposable elements

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    Transposable elements (TEs) often accumulate in regions of the genome with suppressed recombination. But it is unclear whether this pattern reflects a reduction in the efficacy of selection against deleterious insertions or a relaxation of ectopic recombination. Discriminating between these two hypotheses has been difficult, because no formal model has investigated the effects of recombination under the deleterious insertion model. Here we take a simulation-based approach to analyze this scenario and determine the conditions under which element accumulation is expected in low recombination regions. We show that TEs become fixed as a result of Hill–Robertson effects in the form of Muller's ratchet, but only in regions of extremely low recombination when excision is effectively absent and synergism between elements is weak. These results have important implications for differentiating between the leading models of how selection acts on TEs and should help to interpret emerging population genetic and genomic data

    Domestic chickens activate a piRNA defense against avian leukosis virus

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    PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) protect the germ line by targeting transposable elements (TEs) through the base-pair complementarity. We do not know how piRNAs co-evolve with TEs in chickens. Here we reported that all active TEs in the chicken germ line are targeted by piRNAs, and as TEs lose their activity, the corresponding piRNAs erode away. We observed de novo piRNA birth as host responds to a recent retroviral invasion. Avian leukosis virus (ALV) has endogenized prior to chicken domestication, remains infectious, and threatens poultry industry. Domestic fowl produce piRNAs targeting ALV from one ALV provirus that was known to render its host ALV resistant. This proviral locus does not produce piRNAs in undomesticated wild chickens. Our findings uncover rapid piRNA evolution reflecting contemporary TE activity, identify a new piRNA acquisition modality by activating a pre-existing genomic locus, and extend piRNA defense roles to include the period when endogenous retroviruses are still infectious. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.24695.00

    Characterization of Two Transposable Elements and an Ultra-Conserved Element Isolated in the Genome of Zootoca vivipara (Squamata, Lacertidae)

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    : Transposable elements (TEs) constitute a considerable fraction of eukaryote genomes representing a major source of genetic variability. We describe two DNA sequences isolated in the lizard Zootoca vivipara, here named Zv516 and Zv817. Both sequences are single-copy nuclear sequences, including a truncation of two transposable elements (TEs), SINE Squam1 in Zv516 and a Tc1/Mariner-like DNA transposon in Zv817. FISH analyses with Zv516 showed the occurrence of interspersed signals of the SINE Squam1 sequence on all chromosomes of Z. vivipara and quantitative dot blot indicated that this TE is present with about 4700 copies in the Z. vivipara genome. FISH and dot blot with Zv817 did not produce clear hybridization signals. Bioinformatic analysis showed the presence of active SINE Squam 1 copies in the genome of different lacertids, in different mRNAs, and intronic and coding regions of various genes. The Tc1/Mariner-like DNA transposon occurs in all reptiles, excluding Sphenodon and Archosauria. Zv817 includes a trait of 284 bp, representing an amniote ultra-conserved element (UCE). Using amniote UCE homologous sequences from available whole genome sequences of major amniote taxonomic groups, we performed a phylogenetic analysis which retrieved Prototheria as the sister group of Metatheria and Eutheria. Within diapsids, Testudines are the sister group to Aves + Crocodylia (Archosauria), and Sphenodon is the sister group to Squamata. Furthermore, large trait regions flanking the UCE are conserved at family level

    Functional cis-regulatory modules encoded by mouse-specific endogenous retrovirus

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    Cis-regulatory modules contain multiple transcription factor (TF)-binding sites and integrate the effects of each TF to control gene expression in specific cellular contexts. Transposable elements (TEs) are uniquely equipped to deposit their regulatory sequences across a genome, which could also contain cis-regulatory modules that coordinate the control of multiple genes with the same regulatory logic. We provide the first evidence of mouse-specific TEs that encode a module of TF-binding sites in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs). The majority (77%) of the individual TEs tested exhibited enhancer activity in mouse ESCs. By mutating individual TF-binding sites within the TE, we identified a module of TF-binding motifs that cooperatively enhanced gene expression. Interestingly, we also observed the same motif module in the in silico constructed ancestral TE that also acted cooperatively to enhance gene expression. Our results suggest that ancestral TE insertions might have brought in cis-regulatory modules into the mouse genome

    Noncoding RNAs and gene silencing

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    Noncoding RNA has long been proposed to control gene expression via sequence-specific interactions with regulatory regions. Here, we review the role of noncoding RNA in heterochromatic silencing and in the silencing of transposable elements (TEs), unpaired DNA in meiosis, and developmentally excised DNA. The role of cotranscriptional processing by RNA interference and by other mechanisms is discussed, as well as parallels with RNA silencing in imprinting, paramutation, polycomb silencing, and X inactivation. Interactions with regulatory sequences may well occur, but at the RNA rather than at the DNA level
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