Editor's Summary

24 January 2008

Transposon watch


A large fraction of the eukaryotic genome consists of transposons, 'jumping genes' that move from place to place in the genome. They profoundly influence genome organization and have had a major impact on genome evolution. Host genomes have evolved mechanisms to control the spread of transposable elements, and one newly discovered mechanism is reported in this issue. It operates in fission yeast by exploiting the targeting of a specific class of transposons (Tf2 retrotransposons, which act via RNA intermediates) by proteins of another class to rein in transposon activities. This seems to be an ancient retrotransposon surveillance pathway, and hints at conflict between DNA transposons and retrotransposons.

News and ViewsGenomics: Fighting fire with fire

Mobile genetic elements called transposons could cause havoc in the genome if left unregulated. Of the various cellular defence strategies used to preserve genome integrity, one involves exploiting transposons themselves.

Daniel F. Voytas

doi:10.1038/451412a

ArticleHost genome surveillance for retrotransposons by transposon-derived proteins

Hugh P. Cam, Ken-ichi Noma, Hirotaka Ebina, Henry L. Levin & Shiv I. S. Grewal

doi:10.1038/nature06499