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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Oct 26;107(43):18487-92. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1001252107. Epub 2010 Sep 17.

Induction of long interspersed nucleotide element-1 (L1) retrotransposition by 6-formylindolo[3,2-b]carbazole (FICZ), a tryptophan photoproduct.

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  • 1National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8655, Japan.


Long interspersed nucleotide element-1 (L1) is a retroelement comprising about 17% of the human genome, of which 80-100 copies are competent as mobile elements (retrotransposition: L1-RTP). Although the genetic structures modified during L1-RTP have been clarified, little is known about the cellular signaling cascades involved. Herein we found that 6-formylindolo[3,2-b]carbazole (FICZ), a tryptophan photoproduct postulated as a candidate physiological ligand of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), induces L1-RTP. Notably, RNA-interference experiments combined with back-transfection of siRNA-resistant cDNAs revealed that the induction of L1-RTP by FICZ is dependent on AhR nuclear translocator-1 (ARNT1), a binding partner of AhR, and the activation of cAMP-responsive element-binding protein. However, our extensive analyses suggested that AhR is not required for L1-RTP. FICZ stimulated the interaction of the L1-encoded open reading frame-1 (ORF1) and ARNT1, and recruited ORF1 to chromatin in a manner dependent on the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase. Along with our additional observations that the cellular cascades for FICZ-induced L1-RTP were different from those of L1-RTP triggered by DNA damage, we propose that the presence of the cellular machinery of ARNT1 mediates L1-RTP. A possible role of ARNT1-mediated L1-RTP in the adaptation of living organisms to environmental changes is discussed.

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