Send to

Choose Destination
Eukaryot Cell. 2004 Feb;3(1):157-69.

A non-long terminal repeat retrotransposon family is restricted to the germ line micronucleus of the ciliated protozoan Tetrahymena thermophila.

Author information

Department of Biology, York University, Toronto M3J 1P3, Ontario, Canada.


The ciliated protozoan Tetrahymena thermophila undergoes extensive programmed DNA rearrangements during the development of a somatic macronucleus from the germ line micronucleus in its sexual cycle. To investigate the relationship between programmed DNA rearrangements and transposable elements, we identified several members of a family of non-long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons (retroposons) in T. thermophila, the first characterized in the ciliated protozoa. This multiple-copy retrotransposon family is restricted to the micronucleus of T. thermophila. The REP (Tetrahymena non-LTR retroposon) elements encode an ORF2 typical of non-LTR elements that contains apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease (APE) and reverse transcriptase (RT) domains. Phylogenetic analysis of the RT and APE domains indicates that the element forms a deep-branching clade within the non-LTR retrotransposon family. Northern analysis with a probe to the conserved RT domain indicates that transcripts from the element are small and heterogeneous in length during early macronuclear development. The presence of a repeated transposable element in the genome is consistent with the model that programmed DNA deletion in T. thermophila evolved as a method of eliminating deleterious transposons from the somatic macronucleus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

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