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Plant Cell Rep. 2008 Jun;27(6):1065-73. doi: 10.1007/s00299-008-0520-2. Epub 2008 Feb 29.

AtCopeg1, the unique gene originated from AtCopia95 retrotransposon family, is sensitive to external hormones and abiotic stresses.

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Shanghai Key Laboratory of Agricultural Genetics and Breeding, Institute of Biological Technique, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 2901 Bei Di Road, Shanghai 201106, China.


Retrotransposons, the important component of eukaryotic genome, are seeds of evolution and play great role in creating new genes. The compact Arabidopsis genome harbors over 200 Copia-like retrotransposons, but mostly silent. Here we isolated an expressed gene AtCopeg1 (Copia evolved gene 1), which shows higher than 90% identity to AtCopia95_I, the consensus sequence encoding AtCopia95 polyprotein. AtCopeg1 is the unique gene evolved from AtCopia95 family. It is an intron-containing gene with two alternative 3' ends. The transcript accumulation of AtCopeg1 is tissue-specific, also significantly affected by external hormones and abiotic stresses. The presence of regulatory elements in its promoter region (originating from AtCopia95_I and AtCopia95 long terminal repeat), is adequate for conferring its essential expression feature. Thus, AtCopeg1 is a versatile functional gene involved in many developmental and adaptive processes probably including the signaling crosstalk of hormone and nutrient stress. Our work highlighted the role of transposable elements in creating new functional genes, and will incite the enthusiasm for isolation and functional characterization of plant genes evolved from those previously considered as selfish and junk DNA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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