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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Mar 16;96(6):2869-74.

CORE-SINEs: eukaryotic short interspersed retroposing elements with common sequence motifs.

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  • 1Centre de Recherche de l'Hôpital Sainte-Justine, Centre de Cancérologie Charles Bruneau, Québec H3T 1C5, Canada.


A 65-bp "core" sequence is dispersed in hundreds of thousands copies in the human genome. This sequence was found to constitute the central segment of a group of short interspersed elements (SINEs), referred to as mammalian-wide interspersed repeats, that proliferated before the radiation of placental mammals. Here, we propose that the core identifies an ancient tRNA-like SINE element, which survived in different lineages such as mammals, reptiles, birds, and fish, as well as mollusks, presumably for >550 million years. This element gave rise to a number of sequence families (CORE-SINEs), including mammalian-wide interspersed repeats, whose distinct 3' ends are shared with different families of long interspersed elements (LINEs). The evolutionary success of the generic CORE-SINE element can be related to the recruitment of the internal promoter from highly transcribed host RNA as well as to its capacity to adapt to changing retropositional opportunities by sequence exchange with actively amplifying LINEs. It reinforces the notion that the very existence of SINEs depends on the cohabitation with both LINEs and the host genome.

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