Characterization of a Group of MITEs with Unusual Features from Two Coral Genomes
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Background -- Miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs), which are common in eukaryotic genomes, are small non-coding elements that transpose by utilizing transposases encoded by autonomous transposons. Recent genome-wide analyses and cross-mobilization assays have greatly improved our knowledge on MITE proliferation, however, specific mechanisms for the origin and evolution of MITEs are still unclear. Principal Findings -- A group of coral MITEs called CMITE were identified from two corals, Acropora millepora and Acropora palmata. CMITEs conform to many common characteristics of MITEs, but also present several unusual features. The most unusual feature of CMITEs is conservation of the internal region, which is more conserved between MITE families than the TIRs. The origin of this internal region remains unknown, although we found one CMITE family that seems to be derived from a piggyBac-like transposon in A. millepora. CMITEs can form tandem arrays, suggesting an unconventional way for MITEs to increase copy numbers. We also describe a case in which a novel transposable element was created by a CMITE insertion event. Conclusions -- To our knowledge, this is the first report of identification of MITEs from coral genomes. Proliferation of CMITEs seems to be related to the transposition machinery of piggyBac-like autonomous transposons. The highly conserved internal region of CMITEs suggests a potential role for this region in their successful transposition. However, the origin of these unusual features in CMITEs remains unclear, and thus represents an intriguing topic for future investigations.
CitationWang S, Zhang L, Meyer E, Matz MV (2010) Characterization of a Group of MITEs with Unusual Features from Two Coral Genomes. PLoS ONE 5(5): e10700. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010700
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