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Phylogenetic analysis reveals Stowaway-like elements may represent a fourth family of the IS630-Tc1-mariner superfamily

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The genomes of plants, like virtually all other eukaryotic organisms, harbor a diverse array of mobile elements, or transposons. In terms of numbers, the predominant type of transposons in many plants is the miniature inverted-repeat transposable element (MITE). There are three archetypal MITEs, known as Tourist, Stowaway, and Emigrant, each of which can be defined by a specific terminal inverted-repeat (TIR) sequence signature. Although their presence was known for over a decade, only recently have open reading frames (ORFs) been identified that correspond to putative transposases for each of the archetypes. We have identified two Stowaway elements that encode a putative transposase and are similar to members of the previously characterized IS630–Tc1-mariner superfamily. In this report, we provide a high-resolution phylogenetic analysis of the evolutionary relationship between Stowaway, Emigrant, and members of the IS630–Tc1-mariner superfamily. We show that although Emigrant is closely related to the pogo-like family of elements, Stowaway may represent a novel family. Integration of our results with previously published data leads to the conclusion that the three main types of MITEs have different evolutionary histories despite similarity in structure.Key words: Stowaway, Emigrant, MITE, mariner, transposon.

La pluspart des plantes et autres organismes eucaryotes contiennent en leur genome un éventail varié d'éléments mobiles ou transposons. Chez les plantes, le type de transposon le plus abondant est les MITEs (« miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements »). Les trois MITEs archétypes sont nommées Tourist, Stowaway et Emigrant et sont définis par leurs séquences terminales répétée inverses (TIRs) ayant des signatures spécifiques. Bien que ces éléments soient connus depuis plus d'une décennie, les cadres ouverts de lectures (ORFs) encodant les transposases présumées de chaque archétype n'ont été découverts que récemment. Nous avons identifié deux éléments Stowaway dont les transposases sont semblables à celle des membres de la super-famille de transposons IS630–Tc1-mariner, characterisée antérieurement. Dans cet article, nous présentons une analyse phylogénétique des relations entre Stowaway, Emigrant et les membres de la super-famille IS630–Tc1-mariner. Nous démontrons que, tandis qu' Emigrant est apparenté a la famille des éléments de type pogo, Stowaway représente probablement une nouvelle famille. L'intégration de nos résultats et de données publiés précédemment mène à la conclusion que les trois principaux types de MITE ont des histoires évolutives distinctes, malgré leurs structures similaires.Mots clés : Stowaway, Emigrant, MITE, mariner, transposon.

Keywords: Emigrant; MITE; Stowaway; mariner; transposon

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2002

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  • From its inception in 1957, this international cytogenetics journal has catered to the research areas of the members of the Genetics Society of Canada; traditionally, these have included agriculture, entomology, genetics/cytogenetics, and evolutionary mechanisms. The contents of the journal have evolved as contributors developed new technologies and interests. A 20-member Editorial Board is composed of scientists from around the world. Reviews and commentary from respected experts are often featured.
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