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J Mol Biol. 2000 May 5;298(3):365-77.

Evolutionary inventions and continuity of CORE-SINEs in mammals.

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  • 1Centre de recherche de l'Hôpital Sainte-Justine, Centre de cancérologie Charles Bruneau, Montréal, H3T 1C5, Canada.


We characterized short interspersed elements (SINEs), of the CORE-suprafamily in egg-laying (monotremes), pouched (marsupials) and placental mammals. Five families of these repeats distinguished by the presence of distinct LINE-related 3'-segments shared tRNA-like promoter and the central core region. The putative active elements were reconstructed from the alignment of genomic repeats representing molecular fossils of sequences that amplified in the past and since then underwent multiple mutations. Their mode of proliferation by retroposition was indicated by the presence of: (1) internal RNA PolIII promoter; (2) simple sequence repeated tail; (3) direct repeats; and (4) subfamilies recording the evolution of elements. The copy number of CORE-SINEs in placental genomes was estimated at about 300,000; they were highly divergent and apparently ceased to amplify before radiation of these lineages. On the other hand, among almost half a million fossil elements present in marsupials and monotremes, the youngest subfamilies could still be retropositionally active. CORE-SINEs terminate in sequence repeats of a few nucleotides similar to their 3'-segment LINE-homologues, CR1, L2 and Bov-B. These three LINE elements fall into clades distinct from that of L1 elements which, similar to their co-amplifying SINEs, end in a poly(A) tail. We propose a model in which new CORE-families, with distinct 3'-segments, are created at the RNA level due to template switching between LINE and CORE-RNA during reverse transcription. The proposed mechanism suggests that such an adaptation to the changing amplification machinery facilitated the survival and prosperity of CORE-elements over long evolutionary periods in different lineages.

Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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