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Nucleic Acids Res. 1995 Aug 11;23(15):2837-9.

Use of a mammalian interspersed repetitive (MIR) element in the coding and processing sequences of mammalian genes.

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  • 1Laboratory of Radiobiology and Enviromental Health, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0750, USA.


The mammalian interspersed repetitive (MIR) element was amplified in mammals 130 million years ago. The MIR element is at least 260 bp in length and is found in approximately 105 copies in the mammalian genome. We analyzed copies of the MIR element in the DNA of various mammals to determine its relationship to the structure and function of genes, in an attempt to identify specific uses of the MIR element within the mammalian genome. We found that alternative splicing within the acetylcholine receptor gene in humans takes place within the MIR element and results in the incorporation of part of the MIR element into the coding sequence of this gene. Furthermore, the polyadenylation signal (AATAAA) at the 3' end of four different mammalian genes is derived from the MIR element. These uses of the MIR element suggest that other regulatory sequences found within the mammalian genome originated from ancient transposable elements, many of which may no longer be recognizable.

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