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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Feb 18;100(4):1832-7. Epub 2003 Feb 4.

Tracking an embryonic L1 retrotransposition event.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 405B Stellar Chance Laboratories, 422 Curie Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. luning@mail.med.upenn.edu


Long interspersed nuclear elements 1 (L1) are active retrotransposons that reside in many species, including humans and rodents. L1 elements produce an RNA intermediate that is reverse transcribed to DNA and inserted in a new genomic location. We have tagged an active human L1 element (L1(RP)) with a gene encoding enhanced GFP (EGFP). Expression of GFP occurs only if L1-EGFP has undergone a cycle of transcription, reverse transcription, and integration into a transcriptionally permissive genomic region. We show here that L1-EGFP can undergo retrotransposition in vivo and produce fluorescence in mouse testis. The retrotransposition event characterized here has occurred at a very early stage in the development of an L1-EGFP transgenic founder mouse.

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