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J Virol. 2004 Mar;78(6):2967-78.

Saci-1, -2, and -3 and Perere, four novel retrotransposons with high transcriptional activities from the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni.

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Laboratorio de Bioinformatica. Departamento de Bioquimica, Instituto de Quimica, Universidade de São Paulo, 05508-900 São Paulo, Brazil.

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  • J Virol. 2004 May;78(9):4950.


Using the data set of 180,000 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) of the blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni generated recently by our group, we identified three novel long-terminal-repeat (LTR)- and one novel non-LTR-expressed retrotransposon, named Saci-1, -2, and -3 and Perere, respectively. Full-length sequences were reconstructed from ESTs and have deduced open reading frames (ORFs) with several uncorrupted features, characterizing them as possible active retrotransposons of different known transposon families. Alignment of reconstructed sequences to available preliminary genome sequence data confirmed the overall structure of the transposons. The frequency of sequenced transposon transcripts in cercariae was 14% of all transcripts from that stage, twofold higher than that in schistosomula and three- to fourfold higher than that in adults, eggs, miracidia, and germ balls. We show by Southern blot analysis, by EST annotation and tallying, and by counting transposon tags from a Serial Analysis of Gene Expression library, that the four novel retrotransposons exhibit a 10- to 30-fold lower copy number in the genome and a 4- to 200-fold-higher transcriptional rate per copy than the four previously described S. mansoni retrotransposons [corrected]. Such differences lead us to hypothesize that there are two different populations of retrotransposons in S. mansoni genome, occupying different niches in its ecology. Examples of retrotransposon fragment inserts were found into the 5' and 3' untranslated regions of four different S. mansoni target gene transcripts. The data presented here suggest a role for these elements in the dynamics of this complex human parasite genome.

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