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Mol Cell Biol. 2007 Dec;27(24):8492-501. Epub 2007 Oct 8.

Protein interactions involved in tRNA gene-specific integration of Dictyostelium discoideum non-long terminal repeat retrotransposon TRE5-A.

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  • 1Institut für Pharmazeutische Biologie, Universität Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Mobile genetic elements that reside in gene-dense genomes face the problem of avoiding devastating insertional mutagenesis of genes in their host cell genomes. To meet this challenge, some Saccharomyces cerevisiae long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons have evolved targeted integration at safe sites in the immediate vicinity of tRNA genes. Integration of yeast Ty3 is mediated by interactions of retrotransposon protein with the tRNA gene-specific transcription factor IIIB (TFIIIB). In the genome of the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, the non-LTR retrotransposon TRE5-A integrates approximately 48 bp upstream of tRNA genes, yet little is known about how the retrotransposon identifies integration sites. Here, we show direct protein interactions of the TRE5-A ORF1 protein with subunits of TFIIIB, suggesting that ORF1p is a component of the TRE5-A preintegration complex that determines integration sites. Our results demonstrate that evolution has put forth similar solutions to prevent damage of diverse, compact genomes by different classes of mobile elements.

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