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Genetics. 2003 Jul;164(3):867-79.

Functional genomics reveals relationships between the retrovirus-like Ty1 element and its host Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


Retroviruses and their relatives, the long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons, carry out complex life cycles within the cells of their hosts. We have exploited a collection of gene deletion mutants developed by the Saccharomyces Genome Deletion Project to perform a functional genomics screen for host factors that influence the retrovirus-like Ty1 element in yeast. A total of 101 genes that presumably influence many different aspects of the Ty1 retrotransposition cycle were identified from our analysis of 4483 homozygous diploid deletion strains. Of the 101 identified mutants, 46 had significantly altered levels of Ty1 cDNA, whereas the remaining 55 mutants had normal levels of Ty1 cDNA. Thus, approximately half of the mutants apparently affected the early stages of retrotransposition leading up to the assembly of virus-like particles and cDNA replication, whereas the remaining half affected steps that occur after cDNA replication. Although most of the mutants retained the ability to target Ty1 integration to tRNA genes, 2 mutants had reduced levels of tRNA gene targeting. Over 25% of the gene products identified in this study were conserved in other organisms, suggesting that this collection of host factors can serve as a starting point for identifying host factors that influence LTR retroelements and retroviruses in other organisms. Overall, our data indicate that Ty1 requires a large number of cellular host factors to complete its retrotransposition cycle efficiently.

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