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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Jan 25;365(4):790-4. Epub 2007 Nov 21.

Nezha, a novel active miniature inverted-repeat transposable element in cyanobacteria.

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Computational Systems Biology Laboratory, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Institute of Bioinformatics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.


Miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs) were first identified in plants and exerted extensive proliferations throughout eukaryotic and archaeal genomes. But very few MITEs have been characterized in bacteria. We identified a novel MITE, called Nezha, in cyanobacteria Anabaena variabilis ATCC 29413 and Nostoc sp. PCC 7120. Nezha, like most previously known MITEs in other organisms, is small in size, non-coding, carrying TIR and DR signals, and of potential to form a stable RNA secondary structure, and it tends to insert into A+T-rich regions. Recent transpositions of Nezha were observed in A. variabilis ATCC 29413 and Nostoc sp. PCC 7120, respectively. Nezha might have proliferated recently with aid from the transposase encoded by ISNpu3-like elements. A possible horizontal transfer event of Nezha from cyanobacteria to Polaromonas JS666 is also observed.

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