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Gene. 2006 Jan 3;365:104-10. Epub 2006 Jan 10.

Transposable elements as a significant source of transcription regulating signals.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular Evolutionary Genetics and Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Transposable elements (TEs) are major components of eukaryotic genomes, contributing about 50% to the size of mammalian genomes. TEs serve as recombination hot spots and may acquire specific cellular functions, such as controlling protein translation and gene transcription. The latter is the subject of the analysis presented. We scanned TE sequences located in promoter regions of all annotated genes in the human genome for their content in potential transcription regulating signals. All investigated signals are likely to be over-represented in at least one TE class, which shows that TEs have an important potential to contribute to pre-transcriptional gene regulation, especially by moving transcriptional signals within the genome and thus potentially leading to new gene expression patterns. We also found that some TE classes are more likely than others to carry transcription regulating signals, which can explain why they have different retention rates in regions neighboring genes.

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