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Title: LTR Retrotransposons Create Transcribed Retrocopies in Metazoans
Author: Shengjun Tan, Margarida Cardoso-Moreira, Wenwen Shi, Dan Zhang, Jiawei Huang, Yanan Mao, Hangxing Jia, Yaqiong Zhang, Chunyan Chen, Yi Shao1, Liang Leng, Zhonghua Liu, Xun Huang, Manyuan Long,Yong Edward Zhang
Abstract: In a broad range of taxa, genes can duplicate through an RNA intermediate in a process mediated by retrotransposons (retroposition). In mammals, L1 retrotransposons drive retroposition but the elements responsible for retroposition in other animals have yet to be identified. Here, we examined young retrocopies from various animals which still retain the sequence features indicative of the underlying retroposition mechanism. In Drosophila melanogaster we identified and de novo assembled 15 polymorphic retrocopies and found that all retroposed loci are chimeras of internal retrocopies flanked by discontinuous LTR retrotransposons. At the fusion points between the mRNAs and the LTR retrotransposons we identified shared short similar sequences that suggest the involvement of microsimilarity-dependent template switches. By expanding our approach to mosquito, zebrafish, chicken and mammals, we identified in all these species recently originated retrocopies with a similar chimeric structure and shared microsimilarities at the fusion points. We also identified several retrocopies that combine the sequences of two or more parental genes, demonstrating LTR-retroposition as a novel mechanism of exon shuffling. Finally, we found that LTR-mediated retrocopies are immediately co-transcribed with their flanking LTR retrotransposons. Transcriptional profiling coupled with sequence analyses revealed that the sense-strand transcription of the retrocopies often lead to the origination of in-frame proteins relative to the parental genes. Overall, our data show that LTR-mediated retroposition is highly conserved across a wide range of animal taxa and combined with previous work from plants and yeast that it represents an ancient and ongoing mechanism continuously shaping gene content evolution in eukaryotes.
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PubYear: 2016
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Issue: DOI: 10.1101/gr.204925.116
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Journal: Genome Research
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URL: http://genome.cshlp.org/content/early/2016/10/20/gr.204925.116
   

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