Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Occurrence of a copia-like transposable element in one of the introns of the potato starch phosphorylase gene

  • 103 Accesses

  • 52 Citations


The gene coding for starch phosphorylase (EC was isolated from a potato genomic library constructed in λEMBL3. It is an unusually long plant gene (16.4 kb) which encodes a preprotein of 966 amino acids. The phosphorylase coding sequence is interrupted by 14 introns whose positions do not match those of the introns in the human glycogen phosphorylase gene. A 78 amino acid central peptide unique to plant plastidial phosphorylases is hypothesized to have arisen through the mis-splicing of an intron-exon junction site in an ancestral gene. The fifth intron of the phosphorylase is very large (approximately 7 kb) and contains a copia-like transposable element inserted in the opposite orientation to that of the phosphorylase gene. This element has been named Tstl ; it is bordered on the 5′ and 3′ sides by long terminal repeats of 285 and 283 bp respectively, which define an internal domain of 4492 bp. Tstl contains 4 open reading frames (ORFs) that encode protein domains for a reverse transcriptase, an integrase, an RNA-binding site and a protease. Transcription of the phosphorylase gene appears to proceed unimpaired through the copia element.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Breathnach R, Chambon P (1981) Organization and expression of eukaryotic split genes coding for proteins. Annu Rev Biochem 50:349–383

  2. Brisson N, Giroux H, Zollinger M, Camirand A, Simard C (1989) Maturation and subcellular compartmentation of potato starch phosphorylase. Plant Cell 1:559–566

  3. Burke J, Hwang P, Anderson L, Lebo R, Gorin F, Fletterick R (1987) Intron/exon structure of the human gene for the muscle isozyme of glycogen phosphorylase. Proteins 2:177–187

  4. Chen GS, Segel IH (1968) Purification and properties of glycogen phosphorylase from Escherichia coli. Arch Biochem Biophys 127:175–186

  5. Clare J, Farabaugh JP (1985) Nucleotide sequence of a yeast Ty element: Evidence for an unusual mechanism of gene expression. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 82:2829–2833

  6. Dennis ES, Gerlach WL, Pryor AJ, Bennetzen JL, Inglis A, Llewellyn D, Sachs MM, Ferl RJ, Peacock WJ (1984) Molecular analysis of the alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh1) gene of maize. Nucleic Acids Res 12:3983–4000

  7. Dennis ES, Sachs MM, Gerlach WL, Finnegan EJ, Peacock WJ (1985) Molecular analysis of the alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh2) gene of maize. Nucleic Acids Res 13:727–743

  8. Doolittle RF, Feng D-F, Johnson MS, McClure MA (1989) Origins and evolutionary relationships of retroviruses. Quart Rev Biol 64:1–30

  9. Drouin G, Dover GA (1987) A plant processed pseudogene. Nature 328:557–558

  10. Fosset M, Muir LW, Nielsen LD, Fischer EM (1971) Purification and properties of yeast glycogen phosphorylase a and b. Biochem 10:4105–4113

  11. Franck A, Guilley H, Jonard G, Richards K, Hirt L (1980) Nucleotide sequence of cauliflower mosaic virus DNA. Cell 21:285–294

  12. Fukui T (1983) Plant phosphorylases. In: T Akazawa, T Asahi, H Imaseki (eds) The new frontiers in plant biochemistry, Japan Scientific Societies Press, Tokyo, pp 71–82

  13. Goodall GJ, Filipowicz W (1989) The AU-rich sequences present in introns of plant nuclear pre-mRNAs are required for splicing. Cell 58:473–483

  14. Grandbastien M-A, Spielmann A, Caboche M (1989) Tnt1, a mobile retroviral-like transposable element of tobacco isolated by plant cell genetics. Nature 337:376–380

  15. Hanley BA, Schuler MA (1988) Plant intron sequences: Evidence for distinct groups of introns. Nucleic Acids Res 16:7159–7176

  16. Hwang PK, Fletterick RJ (1986) Convergent and divergent evolution of regulatory sites in eukaryotic phosphorylases. Nature 324:80–84

  17. Hwang PK, Tugendreich S, Fletterick RJ (1989) Molecular analysis of GPH1, the gene encoding glycogen phosphorylase in Sachar-omyces cerevisiae. Mol Cell Biol 9:1659–1666

  18. Jin Y-K, Bennetzen JL (1989) Structure and coding properties of Bsl, a maize retrovirus-like transposon. Proc Nail Acad Sci USA 86:6235–6239

  19. Johns MA, Babcock MS, Fuerstenberg SM, Fuerstenberg SI, Freeling M, Simpson RB (1989) An unusually compact retrotransposon in maize. Plant Mol Biol 12:633–642

  20. Klösgen RB, Gierl A, Schwarz-Sommer Z, Saedler H (1986) Molecular analysis of the waxy locus of Zea mays. Mol Gen Genet 203:237–244

  21. Krebs EG, Beavo JA (1979) Phosphorylation-dephosphorylation of enzymes. Annu Rev Biochem 48:923–959

  22. Levis R, O'Hare K, Rubin GM (1984) Effect of transposable element insertions on RNA encoded by the white gene of Drosophila. Cell 38:471–481

  23. Marck C (1988) DNA Strider: a C programm for the analysis of DNA and protein sequences on the Apple Macintosh family of computers. Nucleic Acids Res 16:1829–1836

  24. Mount SM, Rubin GM (1985) Complete nucleotide sequence of the Drosophila transposable element copia: Homology between copia and retroviral proteins. Mol Cell Biol 5:1630–1638

  25. Nakano K, Fukui T (1986) The complete amino acid sequence of potato α-glucan phosphorylase. J Biol Chem 261:8230–8236

  26. Newgard CB, Nakano K, Hwang PK, Fletterick RJ (1986) Sequence analysis of the cDNA encoding human liver glycogen phosphorylase reveals tissue-specific codon usage. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 83:8132–8136

  27. Newgard CB, Littman DR, van Genderen C, Smith M, Fletterick RJ (1988) Human brain glycogen phosphorylase. Cloning, sequence analysis, chromosomal mapping, tissue expression, and comparison with the human liver and muscle isozymes. J Biol Chem 263:3850–3857

  28. Newgard CB, Hwang PK, Fletterick RJ (1989) The family of glycogen phosphorylases: structure and function. Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol 24:69–99

  29. Palm D, Goerl P, Burger KJ (1985) Evolution of catalytic and regulatory sites in phosphorylases. Nature 313:500–502

  30. Pearson WR, Lipman DJ (1988) Improved tools for biological sequences analysis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 85:2444–2448

  31. Sanger F, Nicklen S, Coulson AR (1977) DNA sequencing with chain-terminating inhibitors. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 74:5463–5467

  32. Smyth DR, Kalitsis P, Joseph JL, Sentry JW (1989) Plant retrotransposon from Lilium henryi is related to Ty3 of yeast and the gypsy group of Drosophila. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 86:5015–5019

  33. Sung MT, Slightom JL (1981) In: NJ Panopoulos, (ed) Genetic engineering in the plant sciences. Methods for preparation of plant nucleic acids optimally suited for restriction endonucleases digesting and cloning: The construction of jack bean and soybean phage libraries in Charon 4A. Praeger Publications, New York, pp 39–61

  34. Sprinzl M, Hartman T, Meissner F, Moll J, Vorderwulbecke T (1987) Compilation of tRNA sequences and sequences of tRNA genes. Nucleic Acids Res 15: suppl r53-r188

  35. Titani K, Koide A, Hermann J, Ericsson LH, Kumar S, Wade RD, Walsh KA, Neurath II, Fischer EH (1977) Complete amino acid sequence of rabbit muscle glycogen phosphorylase. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 74:4762–4766

  36. Voytas DF, Ausubel FM (1988) A copia-like transposable element family in Arabidopsis thaliana. Nature 336:242–244

  37. Werr W, Frommer W-B, Maas C, Starlinger P (1985) Structure of the sucrose synthase gene on chromosome 9 of Zea mays L. EMBO J 4:1373–1380

  38. Wu CH, Caspar T, Browse J, Lindquist S, Somerville C (1988). Characterization of an HSP70 cognate gene family in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol 88:731–740

  39. Yoshinaka Y, Katoh TD, Copeland S, Oroszlan S (1985) Murine leukemia virus protease is encoded by the gag pol gene and is synthesized through suppression of an amber termination codon. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 82:1618–1622

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Normand Brisson.

Additional information

Communicated by D.Y. Thomas

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Camirand, A., St-Pierre, B., Marineau, C. et al. Occurrence of a copia-like transposable element in one of the introns of the potato starch phosphorylase gene. Molec. Gen. Genet. 224, 33–39 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00259448

Download citation

Key words

  • Reverse transcriptase
  • Tuber
  • Solanum tuberosum
  • Retrotransposon