Internal deletions of transposable elements: the case of Lemi elements
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Mobile elements using a “cut and paste” mechanism of transposition (Class II) are frequently prone to internal deletions and the question of the origin of these copies remains elusive. In this study, we looked for copies belonging to the Lemi Family (Tc1-mariner-IS630 SuperFamily) in the plant genomes, and copies within internal deletions were analyzed in detail. Lemi elements are found exclusively in Eudicots, and more than half of the copies have been deleted. All deletions occur between microhomologies (direct repeats from 2 to 13 bp). Copies less than 500 bp long, similar to MITEs, are frequent. These copies seem to result from large deletions occurring between microhomologies present within a region of 300 bp at both extremities of the element. These regions are particularly A/T rich, compared to the internal part of the element, which increases the probability of observing short direct repeats. Most of the molecular mechanisms responsible for double strand break repair are able to induce deletions between microhomologies during the repair process. This could be a quick way to reduce the population of active copies within a genome and, more generally, to reduce the overall activity of the element after it has entered a naive genome.
KeywordsTransposable elements Lemi (Tc1-mariner-IS630) Internal deletion Eudicots Mechanisms of repair Microhomologies
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