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Int Rev Cytol. 1999;186:1-48.

Control of genes by mammalian retroposons.

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  • Institute of Cytology, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation.


Available data on possible genetic impacts of mammalian retroposons are reviewed. Most important is the growing number of established examples showing the involvement of retroposons in modulation of expression of protein-coding genes transcribed by RNA polymerase II (Pol II). Retroposons contain conserved blocks of nucleotide sequence for binding of some important Pol II transcription factors as well as sequences involved in regulation of stability of mRNA. Moreover, these mobile genes provide short regions of sequence homology for illegitimate recombinations, leading to diverse genome rearrangements during evolution. Therefore, mammalian retroposons representing a significant fraction of noncoding DNA cannot be considered at present as junk DNA but as important genetic symbionts driving the evolution of regulatory networks controlling gene expression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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