• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of geneticsGeneticsCurrent IssueInformation for AuthorsEditorial BoardSubscribeSubmit a Manuscript
Genetics. Dec 1998; 150(4): 1615–1623.
PMCID: PMC1460426

Retrotransposon-related DNA sequences in the centromeres of grass chromosomes.


Several distinct DNA fragments were subcloned from a sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) bacterial artificial chromosome clone 13I16 that was derived from a centromere. Three fragments showed significant sequence identity to either Ty3/gypsy- or Ty1/copia-like retrotransposons. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis revealed that the Ty1/copia-related DNA sequences are not specific to the centromeric regions. However, the Ty3/gypsy-related sequences were present exclusively in the centromeres of all sorghum chromosomes. FISH and gel-blot hybridization showed that these sequences are also conserved in the centromeric regions of all species within Gramineae. Thus, we report a new retrotransposon that is conserved in specific chromosomal regions of distantly related eukaryotic species. We propose that the Ty3/gypsy-like retrotransposons in the grass centromeres may be ancient insertions and are likely to have been amplified during centromere evolution. The possible role of centromeric retrotransposons in plant centromere function is discussed.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (248K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Baum M, Ngan VK, Clarke L. The centromeric K-type repeat and the central core are together sufficient to establish a functional Schizosaccharomyces pombe centromere. Mol Biol Cell. 1994 Jul;5(7):747–761. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Bennetzen JL. The contributions of retroelements to plant genome organization, function and evolution. Trends Microbiol. 1996 Sep;4(9):347–353. [PubMed]
  • Bennetzen JL, Kellogg EA. Do Plants Have a One-Way Ticket to Genomic Obesity? Plant Cell. 1997 Sep;9(9):1509–1514. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Brandes A, Heslop-Harrison JS, Kamm A, Kubis S, Doudrick RL, Schmidt T. Comparative analysis of the chromosomal and genomic organization of Ty1-copia-like retrotransposons in pteridophytes, gymnosperms and angiosperms. Plant Mol Biol. 1997 Jan;33(1):11–21. [PubMed]
  • Moore G, Cheung W, Schwarzacher T, Flavell R. BIS 1, a major component of the cereal genome and a tool for studying genomic organization. Genomics. 1991 Jun;10(2):469–476. [PubMed]
  • Charlesworth B, Jarne P, Assimacopoulos S. The distribution of transposable elements within and between chromosomes in a population of Drosophila melanogaster. III. Element abundances in heterochromatin. Genet Res. 1994 Dec;64(3):183–197. [PubMed]
  • Mount SM, Rubin GM. Complete nucleotide sequence of the Drosophila transposable element copia: homology between copia and retroviral proteins. Mol Cell Biol. 1985 Jul;5(7):1630–1638. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Clarke L. Centromeres of budding and fission yeasts. Trends Genet. 1990 May;6(5):150–154. [PubMed]
  • Murphy TD, Karpen GH. Localization of centromere function in a Drosophila minichromosome. Cell. 1995 Aug 25;82(4):599–609. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • O'Neill RJ, O'Neill MJ, Graves JA. Undermethylation associated with retroelement activation and chromosome remodelling in an interspecific mammalian hybrid. Nature. 1998 May 7;393(6680):68–72. [PubMed]
  • Daraselia ND, Tarchevskaya S, Narita JO. The promoter for tomato 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase gene 2 has unusual regulatory elements that direct high-level expression. Plant Physiol. 1996 Oct;112(2):727–733. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Pélissier T, Tutois S, Tourmente S, Deragon JM, Picard G. DNA regions flanking the major Arabidopsis thaliana satellite are principally enriched in Athila retroelement sequences. Genetica. 1996 Mar;97(2):141–151. [PubMed]
  • Dong F, Miller JT, Jackson SA, Wang GL, Ronald PC, Jiang J. Rice (Oryza sativa) centromeric regions consist of complex DNA. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Jul 7;95(14):8135–8140. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Régnier V, Meddeb M, Lecointre G, Richard F, Duverger A, Nguyen VC, Dutrillaux B, Bernheim A, Danglot G. Emergence and scattering of multiple neurofibromatosis (NF1)-related sequences during hominoid evolution suggest a process of pericentromeric interchromosomal transposition. Hum Mol Genet. 1997 Jan;6(1):9–16. [PubMed]
  • Eichler EE, Lu F, Shen Y, Antonacci R, Jurecic V, Doggett NA, Moyzis RK, Baldini A, Gibbs RA, Nelson DL. Duplication of a gene-rich cluster between 16p11.1 and Xq28: a novel pericentromeric-directed mechanism for paralogous genome evolution. Hum Mol Genet. 1996 Jul;5(7):899–912. [PubMed]
  • Eichler EE, Budarf ML, Rocchi M, Deaven LL, Doggett NA, Baldini A, Nelson DL, Mohrenweiser HW. Interchromosomal duplications of the adrenoleukodystrophy locus: a phenomenon of pericentromeric plasticity. Hum Mol Genet. 1997 Jul;6(7):991–1002. [PubMed]
  • SanMiguel P, Tikhonov A, Jin YK, Motchoulskaia N, Zakharov D, Melake-Berhan A, Springer PS, Edwards KJ, Lee M, Avramova Z, et al. Nested retrotransposons in the intergenic regions of the maize genome. Science. 1996 Nov 1;274(5288):765–768. [PubMed]
  • Sun X, Wahlstrom J, Karpen G. Molecular structure of a functional Drosophila centromere. Cell. 1997 Dec 26;91(7):1007–1019. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Jiang J, Hulbert SH, Gill BS, Ward DC. Interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization mapping: a physical mapping strategy for plant species with large complex genomes. Mol Gen Genet. 1996 Oct 16;252(5):497–502. [PubMed]
  • Jiang J, Nasuda S, Dong F, Scherrer CW, Woo SS, Wing RA, Gill BS, Ward DC. A conserved repetitive DNA element located in the centromeres of cereal chromosomes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Nov 26;93(24):14210–14213. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wang GL, Holsten TE, Song WY, Wang HP, Ronald PC. Construction of a rice bacterial artificial chromosome library and identification of clones linked to the Xa-21 disease resistance locus. Plant J. 1995 Mar;7(3):525–533. [PubMed]
  • Weaver DC, Shpakovski GV, Caputo E, Levin HL, Boeke JD. Sequence analysis of closely related retrotransposon families from fission yeast. Gene. 1993 Sep 6;131(1):135–139. [PubMed]
  • Kaszás E, Birchler JA. Misdivision analysis of centromere structure in maize. EMBO J. 1996 Oct 1;15(19):5246–5255. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wessler SR, Bureau TE, White SE. LTR-retrotransposons and MITEs: important players in the evolution of plant genomes. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1995 Dec;5(6):814–821. [PubMed]
  • Kipling D, Warburton PE. Centromeres, CENP-B and Tigger too. Trends Genet. 1997 Apr;13(4):141–145. [PubMed]
  • Willard HF. Centromeres of mammalian chromosomes. Trends Genet. 1990 Dec;6(12):410–416. [PubMed]
  • Kipling D, Mitchell AR, Masumoto H, Wilson HE, Nicol L, Cooke HJ. CENP-B binds a novel centromeric sequence in the Asian mouse Mus caroli. Mol Cell Biol. 1995 Aug;15(8):4009–4020. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wolfe KH, Gouy M, Yang YW, Sharp PM, Li WH. Date of the monocot-dicot divergence estimated from chloroplast DNA sequence data. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1989 Aug;86(16):6201–6205. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Xiong Y, Eickbush TH. Origin and evolution of retroelements based upon their reverse transcriptase sequences. EMBO J. 1990 Oct;9(10):3353–3362. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Mason JM, Biessmann H. The unusual telomeres of Drosophila. Trends Genet. 1995 Feb;11(2):58–62. [PubMed]

Articles from Genetics are provided here courtesy of Genetics Society of America


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...