Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Dec 10;110(50):20140-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1310958110. Epub 2013 Nov 25.

Acquisition of an Archaea-like ribonuclease H domain by plant L1 retrotransposons supports modular evolution.

Author information

Laboratory of Molecular Genetic Systems, Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia.


Although a variety of non-LTR retrotransposons of the L1 superfamily have been found in plant genomes over recent decades, their diversity, distribution, and evolution have yet to be analyzed in depth. Here, we perform comprehensive comparative and evolutionary analyses of L1 retrotransposons from 29 genomes of land plants covering a wide range of taxa. We identify numerous L1 elements in these genomes and detect a striking diversity of their domain composition. We show that all known land plant L1 retrotransposons can be grouped into five major families based on their phylogenetic relationships and domain composition. Moreover, we trace the putative evolution timeline that created the current variants and reveal that evolutionary events included losses and acquisitions of diverse putative RNA-binding domains and the acquisition of an Archaea-like ribonuclease H (RNH) domain. We also show that the latter RNH domain is autonomously active in vitro and speculate that retrotransposons may play a role in the horizontal transfer of RNH between plants, Archaea, and bacteria. The acquisition of an Archaea-like RNH domain by plant L1 retrotransposons negates the hypothesis that RNH domains in non-LTR retrotransposons have a single origin and provides evidence that acquisition happened at least twice. Together, our data indicate that the evolution of the investigated retrotransposons can be mainly characterized by repeated events of domain rearrangements and identify modular evolution as a major trend in the evolution of plant L1 retrotransposons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center