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Open AccessArticle

Riding the Wave: The SINE-Specific V Highly-Conserved Domain Spread into Mammalian Genomes Exploiting the Replication Burst of the MER6 DNA Transposon

1
Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy
2
Sant’Orsola Malpighi Hospital, University of Bologna, 40138 Bologna Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(22), 5607; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20225607 (registering DOI)
Received: 30 September 2019 / Revised: 5 November 2019 / Accepted: 6 November 2019 / Published: 9 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transposable Elements)
Transposable elements are widely distributed within genomes where they may significantly impact their evolution and cell functions. Short interspersed elements (SINEs) are non-autonomous, fast-evolving elements, but some of them carry a highly conserved domain (HCD), whose sequence remained substantially unchanged throughout the metazoan evolution. SINEs carrying the HCD called V are absent in amniote genomes, but V-like sequences were found within the miniature inverted-repeat transposable element (MITE) MER6 in Homo sapiens. In the present work, the genomic distribution and evolution of MER6 are investigated, in order to reconstruct the origin of human V domain and to envisage its possible functional role. The analysis of 85 tetrapod genomes revealed that MER6 and its variant MER6A are found in primates, while only the MER6A variant was found in bats and eulipotyphlans. These MITEs appeared no longer active, in line with literature data on mammalian DNA transposons. Moreover, they appeared to have originated from a Mariner element found in turtles and from a V-SINE from bony fishes. MER6 insertions were found within genes and conserved in mRNAs: in line with previous hypothesis on functional role of HCDs, the MER6 V domain may be important for cell function also in mammals. View Full-Text
Keywords: highly-conserved domains; Mammalia; Tc1/Mariner transposon; short interspersed elements (SINEs); miniature inverted-repeat transposable element (MITE) highly-conserved domains; Mammalia; Tc1/Mariner transposon; short interspersed elements (SINEs); miniature inverted-repeat transposable element (MITE)
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Luchetti, A.; Lomiento, M.; Mantovani, B. Riding the Wave: The SINE-Specific V Highly-Conserved Domain Spread into Mammalian Genomes Exploiting the Replication Burst of the MER6 DNA Transposon. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 5607.

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