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Genetics. 2005 Apr;169(4):1845-57. Epub 2005 Jan 31.

Ty1 copy number dynamics in Saccharomyces.

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  • 1Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Maryland 21701-1201, USA.


To understand long terminal repeat (LTR)-retrotransposon copy number dynamics, Ty1 elements were reintroduced into a "Ty-less" Saccharomyces strain where elements had been lost by LTR-LTR recombination. Repopulated strains exhibited alterations in chromosome size that were associated with Ty1 insertions, but did not become genetically isolated. The rates of element gain and loss under genetic and environmental conditions known to affect Ty1 retrotransposition were determined using genetically tagged reference elements. The results show that Ty1 retrotransposition varies with copy number, temperature, and cell type. In contrast to retrotransposition, Ty1 loss by LTR-LTR recombination was more constant and not markedly influenced by copy number. Endogenous Ty1 cDNA was poorly utilized for recombination when compared with LTR-LTR recombination or ectopic gene conversion. Ty1 elements also appear to be more susceptible to copy number fluctuation in haploid cells. Ty1 gain/loss ratios obtained under different conditions suggest that copy number oscillates over time by altering the rate of retrotransposition, resulting in the diverse copy numbers observed in Saccharomyces.

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