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Gene. 2001 Mar 7;265(1-2):175-83.

Subfamilies of CR1 non-LTR retrotransposons have different 5'UTR sequences but are otherwise conserved.

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  • 1Fox Chase Cancer Center, 19111, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


CR1 elements and CR1-related (CR1-like) elements are a novel family of non-LTR retrotransposons that are found in all vertebrates (reptilia, amphibia, fish, and mammals), whereas more distantly related elements are found in several invertebrate species. CR1 elements have several features that distinguish them from other non-LTR retrotransposons. Most notably, their 3' termini lack a polyadenylic acid (poly A) tail and instead contain 2-4 copies of a unique 8 bp repeat. CR1 elements are present at approximately 100,000 copies in the chicken genome. The vast majority of these elements are severely 5' truncated and mutated; however, six subfamilies (CR1-A through CR1-F) are resolved by sequence comparisons. One of these subfamilies (i.e. CR1-B) previously was analyzed in detail. In the present study, we identified several full-length elements from the CR1-F subfamily. Although regions within the open reading frames and 3' untranslated regions of CR1-F and CR1-B elements are well conserved, their respective 5' untranslated regions are unrelated. Thus, our results suggest that new CR1 subfamilies form when elements with intact open reading frames acquire new 5' UTRs, which could, in principle, function as promoters.

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