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Fungal Genet Biol. 2001 Jun;33(1):49-57.

Elimination of active tad elements during the sexual phase of the Neurospora crassa life cycle.

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Department of Microbiology, Molecular Genetics and Immunology, Kansas City, Kansas 66160-7420, USA.


Tad is an active LINE-like retrotransposon isolated from the Adiopodoumé strain of Neurospora crassa. Extensive analysis of other Neurospora strains has revealed no other strain with active Tad, but all strains tested have multiple copies of defective Tad elements. We have examined the ability of Tad to survive during the sexual cycle of Neurospora and find that active Tad is rapidly eliminated. The characteristics of this elimination suggest that the repeat-induced point mutation (RIP) mechanism was responsible. By the use of transformation to switch the mating type of the Adiopodoumé strain we concluded that this strain is not defective in the RIP process. Analysis of defective Tad elements isolated from a variety of strains indicates that the major difference between these elements and active Tad is due to the presence of a large number of G-C to A-T transition mutations. This would be expected if the changes were due primarily to the RIP process. Mapping of a selection of defective Tad elements reveals that they are present on all of the chromosomes; however, many of the elements are not widely shared among strains. This suggests that repeated introduction and elimination of Tad elements has occurred. Mechanisms that might be responsible for this repeated introduction are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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