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A family of Tcl-like transposons from the genomes of fishes and frogs: evidence for horizontal transmission

Leaver M (2001) A family of Tcl-like transposons from the genomes of fishes and frogs: evidence for horizontal transmission, Gene, 271 (2), pp. 203-214.

Tc1-like transposons are very widely distributed within the genomes of animal species. They consist of an inverted repeat sequence flanking a transposase gene with homology to the mobile DNA element, Tc1 of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. These elements seem particularly to infest the genomes of fish and amphibian species where they can account for 1% of the total genome. However, all vertebrate Tc1-like elements isolated so far are non-functional in that they contain multiple frameshifts within their transposase coding regions. Here I describe a Tc1-like transposon (PPTN) from the genome of a marine flatfish species (Pleuronectes platessa) which bears conserved inverted repeats flanking an apparently intact transposase gene. Closely related, although degenerate, Tc1-like transposons were also isolated from the genomes of Atlantic salmon (SSTN, Salmo salar) and frog (RTTN, Rana temporaria). Consensual nucleic acid sequences were derived by comparing several individual isolates from each species and conceptual amino acid sequences were thence derived for their transposases. Phylogenetic analysis of these sequences with previously isolated Tc1-like transposases shows that the elements from plaice, salmon and frog comprise a new subfamily of Tc1-like transposons. Each member is distinct in that it is not found in the genomes of the other species tested. Plaice genomes contain about 300 copies of PPTN, salmon 1200 copies of SSTN and frog genomes about 500 copies of RTTN. The presence of these closely related elements in the genomes of fish and frog species, representing evolutionary lines, which diverged more than 400 million years ago, is not consistent with a vertical transmission model for their distributions.

transposom; Tcl; fish; frog; horizontal transmission; Atlantic salmon; Pleuronectes

AuthorsLeaver Michael
Publication date27/06/2001
Publication date online15/06/2001
ISSN 0378-1119

Gene: Volume 271, Issue 2 (JUN 27 2001)

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