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Mol Cell Biol. Nov 1996; 16(11): 6563–6572.
PMCID: PMC231658

restless, an active Ac-like transposon from the fungus Tolypocladium inflatum: structure, expression, and alternative RNA splicing.


Elements of the hAT transposon family, such as the maize activator (Ac), have been discovered in a large number of eukaryotic species. This type of class II transposon, present in both plants and animals, has not been previously detected in any fungal organism. However, using a differential screening method to detect repetitive DNA, we have identified a hAT transposon in the hyphomycete Tolypocladium inflatum. The transposon, which we named restless, is 4,097 bp long, carries 20-bp inverted repeats and an 8-bp target site duplication, and encodes a long open reading frame which is interrupted by a single intronic sequence. The derived mRNA exhibits alternative splicing, resulting in the formation of two transcripts that may be translated into polypeptides of 157 or 803 amino acids. The predicted amino acid sequence of the larger polypeptide demonstrates significant homology with transposases from the hAT transposon family. A chromosomal analysis using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis showed that all seven chromosomal bands carry copies of the 4.1-kb transposon. This was confirmed in hybridization experiments with rare-cutting restriction endonucleases which indicate that about 15 copies are present in T. inflatum. The genomic distribution of restless and its transcriptional expression, alternative mRNA splicing, and genomic mobility all imply a potential role for this element in developing a transposon tagging system for use in filamentous fungi.

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