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IUBMB Life. 2006 Dec;58(12):677-85.

L1 elements, processed pseudogenes and retrogenes in mammalian genomes.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalian Medical University, Dalian, China.

Abstract

Long interspersed nuclear elements 1 (L1 elements or LINE1) are the most active autonomous retrotransposons in mammalian genomes. In addition to L1 elements themselves, other protein-coding mRNAs can also be reverse transcribed and integrated into the genome through the L1-mediated retrotransposition, leading to the formation of processed pseudogenes (PPs) and retrogenes, both of which are characterized by the lack of introns and the presence of a 3' polyA tract and flanking direct repeats. PPs are unable to encode a functional protein and have accumulated frameshift mutations and premature stop codons during evolution. A few of PPs are transcriptionally active. Retrogenes preserve undisrupted coding frames and are capable of encoding a functional protein that is identical or nearly identical to that of the progenitor gene. There is a significant excess of retrogenes that originate from the X chromosome and are retrotransposed into autosomes, and most of these retrogenes are specially expressed in male germ cells, suggesting the inactivation of X-linked genes during male meiosis provides a strong selection pressure on retrogenes originating from the X chromosome.

PMID:
17424906
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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