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Free Content BARE retrotransposons produce multiple groups of rarely polyadenylated transcripts from two differentially regulated promoters

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The BARE retrotransposon family comprises more than 104 copies in the barley (Hordeum vulgare) genome. The element is bounded by long terminal repeats (LTRs, 1829 bp) containing promoters and RNA-processing motifs required for retrotransposon replication. Members of the BARE1 subfamily are transcribed, translated, and form virus-like particles. Very similar retrotransposons are expressed as RNA and protein in other cereals and grasses. The BARE2 subfamily is, however, non-autonomous because it cannot produce the GAG capsid protein. The pattern of plant development implies that inheritance of integrated copies should critically depend, in the first instance, on cell-specific and tissue-specific expression patterns. We examined transcription of BARE within different barley tissues and analyzed the promoter function of the BARE LTR. The two promoters of the LTR vary independently in activity by tissue. In embryos TATA1 was almost inactive, whereas transcription in callus appears to be less tightly regulated than in other tissues. Deletion analyses of the LTR uncovered strong positive and negative regulatory elements. The promoters produce multiple groups of transcripts that are distinct by their start and stop points, by their sequences, and by whether they are polyadenylated. Some of these groups do not share the common end structures needed for template switching during replication. Only about 15% of BARE transcripts are polyadenylated. The data suggest that distinct subfamilies of transcripts may play independent roles in providing the proteins and replication templates for the BARE retrotransposon life cycle.
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Keywords: barley; mRNA; polyadenylation; promoter; retrotransposon life cycle; transcriptional regulation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: MTT/BI Plant Genomics Laboratory, Institute of Biotechnology, Viikki Biocenter, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 56, Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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