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Nucleic Acids Res. 2000 Jan 15;28(2):411-5.

Members of the SRY family regulate the human LINE retrotransposons.

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Unité des Rétrovirus Endogènes et Eléments Rétroï des des Eucaryotes Supérieurs, UMR1573 CNRS, Institut Gustave Roussy, 39 rue Camille Desmoulins, 94805 Villejuif Cedex, France.


LINEs are endogenous mobile genetic elements which have dispersed and accumulated in the genomes of most higher eukaryotes via germline transposition, with up to 100 000 copies for the human LINE-1 (L1H) sequences. Although severely repressed in most normal tissues, L1H is still functional, with evidence for both germline and somatic-essentially in tumors-transpositions. Yet, no transcription factor that could regulate their transcription and be responsible for their transposition has hitherto been described. Here we show that factors belonging to the family of the testis-determining factor gene SRY (the SOX family) can modulate L1H promoter activity over a 10-fold range in a transient transfection assay using a luciferase reporter gene. These effects depend on two functional SRY binding sites which can be identified within the L1H promoter via mobility shift assays. Induction of endogenous L1Hs upon ectopic expression of the SOX11 transcription factor is further demonstrated, thus strengthening the physiological relevance of these new-and highly dispersed-target sites for the otherwise unclassical transcription factors of the SRY family.

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