Special Issue "Regulation of Mobile Genetic Elements at the Molecular Level"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2021.
When Barbara McClintock discovered mobile genetic elements in the 1950s, did she suspect the magnitude, extent, and consequences of the mobility of these elements in the living world? Indeed, mobile genetic elements, also called transposable elements, were subsequently discovered both in prokaryotes and in eukaryotes where they constitute a large part of genomes, as 45% in human, 80% in maize. Mobile elements are a source of mutations: in Drosophila, more than 80% of phenotypic mutations observed are due to transposition events; in humans, de novo insertions of transposable elements have been implicated in mutations leading to disease, as haemophilia, cancer, muscular dystrophy. Due to their repeated nature, mobile elements dispersed in the genome are also at the origin of important chromosomal rearrangements.
Today, we know that mobile genetic elements can have devastating or, on the contrary, beneficial effects on genomes. They can create disorders but they also play an essential role in the fluidity of genomes and in evolution. It is therefore extremely important to elucidate the regulatory mechanisms controlling mobile genetic elements in all their aspects at the molecular level, in the animal kingdom, in plants as in prokaryotes.
A number of different regulatory systems exist and operate in different organisms and in different tissues. In the metazoans germline, small RNAs interacting with PIWI family proteins (piRNAs) and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are key components of the pathways controlling transposable elements. Chromatin remodeling leads to transcriptional silencing of mobile elements. Truncated proteins derived from transposable elements themselves can control mobility as in the case of P elements in Drosophila. Somatic silencing mechanisms may be totally different from germline mechanisms in the same organism. Bringing together different areas of research in this Special Issue will help to expand our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms controlling mobile genetic elements in all their diversity.
Dr. Silke Jensen
Manuscript Submission Information
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- mobile genetic elements
- transposable elements
- post-transcriptional silencing
- transcriptional silencing
- small RNA
- chromatin structure
- genome plasticity
The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.
Title: Bioinformatics and Machine Learning Approaches to Understand Mobile Genetic Elements
Authors: Ilektra-Chara Giassa; Eva Klimentova; Panagiotis Alexiou
Affiliation: CEITEC – Central European Institute of Technology, Masaryk University, 625 00 Brno, Czech Republic
Abstract: Transposable elements (TEs, or mobile genetic elements, MGEs) are ubiquitous genetic elements that make up a substantial proportion of the genome of many species. The recent growing interest in understanding the evolution and function of TEs has revealed that TEs play a dual role in genome evolution, development, disease and drug resistance. Cells regulate TE expression, against uncontrolled activity that can lead to developmental defects and disease, using multiple strategies, such as DNA chemical modification, small RNA silencing (sRNA), chromatin modification, as well as sequence-specific repressors. Advancements in bioinformatics and machine learning approaches are increasingly contributing to the analysis of the regulation mechanisms. A plethora of tools and machine learning approaches have been developed for prediction, annotation and expression profiling of sRNAs, for methylation analysis of TEs as well as for genome-wide methylation analysis through bisulfite sequencing data. In this review, we provided a guided overview of the bioinformatic and machine learning state of the art of fields closely associated with TE regulation and function.