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J Bacteriol. 2006 Nov;188(22):7876-84. Epub 2006 Sep 8.

Structural organization and functional properties of miniature DNA insertion sequences in yersiniae.

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Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Cellulare e Molecolare, Facoltà di Medicina, Università Federico II, Via S. Pansini 5, 80131 Naples, Italy.


YPALs (Yersinia palindromic sequences) are miniature DNA insertions scattered along the chromosomes of yersiniae. The spread of these intergenic repeats likely occurred via transposition, as suggested by the presence of target site duplications at their termini and the identification of syntenic chromosomal regions which differ in the presence/absence of YPAL DNA among Yersinia strains. YPALs tend to be inserted closely downstream from the stop codon of flanking genes, and many YPAL targets overlap rho-independent transcriptional terminator-like sequences. This peculiar pattern of insertion supports the hypothesis that most of these repeats are cotranscribed with upstream sequences into mRNAs. YPAL RNAs fold into stable hairpins which may modulate mRNA decay. Accordingly, we found that YPAL-positive transcripts accumulate in Yersinia enterocolitica cells at significantly higher levels than homologous transcripts lacking YPAL sequences in their 3' untranslated region.

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