Transposon excision from an atypical site: a mechanism of evolution of novel transposable elements

PloS One
Marybeth LangerAnimesh Ray

Abstract

The role of transposable elements in sculpting the genome is well appreciated but remains poorly understood. Some organisms, such as humans, do not have active transposons; however, transposable elements were presumably active in their ancestral genomes. Of specific interest is whether the DNA surrounding the sites of transposon excision become recombinogenic, thus bringing about homologous recombination. Previous studies in maize and Drosophila have provided conflicting evidence on whether transposon excision is correlated with homologous recombination. Here we take advantage of an atypical Dissociation (Ds) element, a maize transposon that can be mobilized by the Ac transposase gene in Arabidopsis thaliana, to address questions on the mechanism of Ds excision. This atypical Ds element contains an adjacent 598 base pairs (bp) inverted repeat; the element was allowed to excise by the introduction of an unlinked Ac transposase source through mating. Footprints at the excision site suggest a micro-homology mediated non-homologous end joining reminiscent of V(D)J recombination involving the formation of intra-helix 3' to 5' trans-esterification as an intermediate, a mechanism consistent with previous observations in maize, Antirrh...Continue Reading

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Datasets Mentioned

BETA
M35007.1

Methods Mentioned

BETA
phosphotransferase
PCR

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