The role of vertical and horizontal transfer in the evolution of Paris-like elements in drosophilid species
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The transposable element (TE) Paris was described in a Drosophila virilis strain (virilis species group) as causing a hybrid dysgenesis with other mobile genetic elements. Since then, the element Paris has only been found in D. buzzatii, a species from the repleta group. In this study, we performed a search for Paris-like elements in 56 species of drosophilids to improve the knowledge about the distribution and evolution of this element. Paris-like elements were found in 30 species from the Drosophila genus, 15 species from the Drosophila subgenus and 15 species from the Sophophora subgenus. Analysis of the complete sequences obtained from the complete available Drosophila genomes has shown that there are putative active elements in five species (D. elegans, D. kikkawai, D. ananassae, D. pseudoobscura and D. mojavensis). The Paris-like elements showed an approximately 242-bp-long terminal inverted repeats in the 5′ and 3′ boundaries (called LIR: long inverted repeat), with two 28-bp-long direct repeats in each LIR. All potentially active elements presented degeneration in the internal region of terminal inverted repeat. Despite the degeneration of the LIR, the distance of 185 bp between the direct repeats was always maintained. This conservation suggests that the spacing between direct repeats is important for transposase binding. The distribution analysis showed that these elements are widely distributed in other Drosophila groups beyond the virilis and repleta groups. The evolutionary analysis of Paris-like elements suggests that they were present as two subfamilies with the common ancestor of the Drosophila genus. Since then, these TEs have been primarily maintained by vertical transmission with some events of stochastic loss and horizontal transfer.
KeywordsParis-like Transposable element Drosophila Inverted terminal repeat Vertical transmission Horizontal transfer
This study was supported by research grants and fellowships from CAPES, CNPq (304205/2007/9) and PRONEX-FAPERGS (10/0028-7). We are grateful to João Pedro Junges dos Santos for help in Drosophila strains identification.
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