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Mob DNA. 2013 Nov 1;4(1):23. doi: 10.1186/1759-8753-4-23.

PGBD5: a neural-specific intron-containing piggyBac transposase domesticated over 500 million years ago and conserved from cephalochordates to humans.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7350, USA. amweiner@u.washington.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

piggyBac domain (PGBD) transposons are found in organisms ranging from fungi to humans. Three domesticated piggyBac elements have been described. In the ciliates Paramecium tetraurelia and Tetrahymena thermophila, homologs known as piggyMacs excise internal eliminated sequences from germline micronuclear DNA during regeneration of the new somatic macronucleus. In primates, a PGBD3 element inserted into the Cockayne syndrome group B (CSB) gene over 43 Mya serves as an alternative 3' terminal exon, enabling the CSB gene to generate both full length CSB and a conserved CSB-PGBD3 fusion protein that joins an N-terminal CSB domain to the C-terminal transposase domain.

RESULTS:

We describe a fourth domesticated piggyBac element called PGBD5. We show that i) PGBD5 was first domesticated in the common ancestor of the cephalochordate Branchiostoma floridae (aka lancelet or amphioxus) and vertebrates, and is conserved in all vertebrates including lamprey but cannot be found in more basal urochordates, hemichordates, or echinoderms; ii) the lancelet, lamprey, and human PGBD5 genes are syntenic and orthologous; iii) no potentially mobile ancestral PGBD5 elements can be identified in other more deeply rooted organisms; iv) although derived from an IS4-related transposase of the RNase H clan, PGBD5 protein is unlikely to retain enzymatic activity because the catalytic DDD(D) motif is not conserved; v) PGBD5 is preferentially expressed in certain granule cell lineages of the brain and in the central nervous system based on available mouse and human in situ hybridization data, and the tissue-specificity of documented mammalian EST and mRNA clones; vi) the human PGBD5 promoter and gene region is rich in bound regulatory factors including the neuron-restrictive silencer factors NRSF/REST and CoREST, as well as SIN3, KAP1, STAT3, and CTCF; and vii) despite preferential localization within the nucleus, PGBD5 protein is unlikely to bind DNA or chromatin as neither DNase I digestion nor high salt extraction release PGBD5 from fractionated mouse brain nuclei.

CONCLUSIONS:

We speculate that the neural-specific PGBD5 transposase was domesticated >500 My after cephalochordates and vertebrates split from urochordates, and that PGBD5 may have played a role in the evolution of a primitive deuterostome neural network into a centralized nervous system.

PMID:
24180413
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3902484
Free PMC Article
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