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Mol Biol Evol. 2002 May;19(5):664-77.

Ylli, a non-LTR retrotransposon L1 family in the dimorphic yeast Yarrowia lipolytica.

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Collection de Levures d'Intérêt Biotechnologique, Laboratoire de Génétique Moleculaire et Cellulaire, INRA UR216, CNRS URA1925, INA-PG, F-78850 Thiverval-Grignon, France.


During the course of a random sequencing project of the genome of the dimorphic yeast Yarrowia lipolytica, we have identified sequences that were repeated in the genome and that matched the reverse transcriptase (RT) sequence of non-long terminal repeat (non-LTR) retrotransposons. Extension of sequencing on each side of this zone of homology allowed the definition of an element over 6 kb long. The conceptual translation of this sequence revealed two open reading frames (ORFs) that displayed several characteristics of non-LTR retrotransposons: a Cys-rich motif in the ORF1, an N-terminal endonuclease, a central RT, and a C-terminal zinc finger domain in the ORF2. We called this element Ylli (for Y. lipolytica LINE). A total of 19 distinct repeats carrying the 3' untranslated region (UTR) and all ending with a poly-A tail were detected. Most of them were very short, 17 being 134 bp long or less. The number of copies of Ylli was estimated to be around 100 if these short repeats are 5' truncations. No 5' UTR was clearly identified, indicating that entire and therefore active elements might be very rare in the Y. lipolytica strain tested. Ylli does not seem to have any insertion specificity. Phylogenetic analysis of the RT domain unambiguously placed Ylli within the L1 clade. It forms a monophyletic group with the Zorro non-LTR retrotransposons discovered in another dimorphic yeast Candida albicans. BLAST comparisons showed that ORF2 of Ylli is closely related to that of the slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum L1 family, TRE.

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