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FEBS Lett. 1996 Feb 12;380(1-2):1-7.

Rte-1, a retrotransposon-like element in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Netherlands Cancer Institute, Division of Molecular Biology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


We have characterized a retrotransposon-like element (Rte-1) in C. elegans. It was identified while we were sequencing the pim related kinase-1 (prk-1) gene. The element is 3,298 bp long and flanked by a 200 bp direct repeat. 95 bp of the direct repeat are present in the coding region of prk-1. Rte-1 contains an open reading frame, in the opposite orientation of prk-1, potentially encoding 625 amino acids, with similarity to reverse transcriptases. The element is most similar to members of the non-LTR group of retrotransposable elements. There is weak homology of the predicted amino acid sequence of Rte-1 to several reverse transcriptase-like genes identified by the C. elegans genome sequencing consortium, suggesting that there may be a large family of these elements. Southern blots indicate that there are approximately 10-15 additional Rte-1 elements in the C. elegans Bristol N2 genome and a similar number is found in the genomes of two other geographically distinct strains. The insertion pattern of Rte-1 is polymorphic between these strains.

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