DNA transposable elements

Definition

DNA transposable elements are contiguous stretches of genomic DNA that can change the number of their copies in the genome or move their position in the genome, often affecting the activity of nearby genes. Many are inactive in the absence of autonomous transposable elements encoding the transposase catalyzing the excision, insertion or copying of the element.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Reviews |

    Long interspersed element-1 (LINE-1) transposable elements are active in the human genome. In this Review, Burns describes how the retrotransposition activity of LINE-1 in cancer genomes can result in somatically acquired insertions that mark evolving tumour clones.

    • Kathleen H. Burns
    Nature Reviews Cancer 17, 415–424
  • Reviews |

    Next-generation sequencing has facilitated the study of how transposable elements and retroviruses select their diverse genomic sites of integration, and revealed integration site preferences that range from specific nucleotide sequences to particular chromatin states. The authors review the various mechanisms of integration site selection in eukaryotes, as well as the molecular and cellular determinants that guide this process.

    • Tania Sultana
    • , Alessia Zamborlini
    • , Gael Cristofari
    •  & Pascale Lesage
  • Reviews |

    Lineage analyses of multicellular organisms provide key insights into developmental mechanisms and how these developmental trajectories go awry in diverse diseases. This Review discusses the features, technical challenges and latest opportunities of an evolving range of sophisticated genetic techniques for tracking cell lineages in organisms. These strategies include methods for prospective tracking using engineered genetic constructs, as well as retrospective tracking based on naturally occurring somatic mutations.

    • Mollie B. Woodworth
    • , Kelly M. Girskis
    •  & Christopher A. Walsh
  • Reviews |

    Transposable elements (TEs) are widely known for their deleterious consequences of selfish propagation and mutagenesis. However, as described in this Review, TEs also provide hosts with rich, beneficial gene-regulatory machinery in the form of regulatory DNA elements and TE-derived gene products. The authors highlight the diverse regulatory contributions of TEs to organismal physiology and pathology, provide a framework for responsibly assigning functional roles to TEs and offer visions for the future.

    • Edward B. Chuong
    • , Nels C. Elde
    •  & Cédric Feschotte
  • Reviews |

    Loss-of-function (LOF) approaches are powerful experimental tools for characterizing gene functions. However, emerging discrepancies when genes are investigated using different tools or organisms has triggered debate about how such LOF results should be biologically interpreted. In this Review, experts from varied fields discuss how understanding the underlying features of each LOF approach can provide explanations for different experimental outcomes and can guide their optimal and reliable application.

    • Benjamin E. Housden
    • , Matthias Muhar
    • , Matthew Gemberling
    • , Charles A. Gersbach
    • , Didier Y. R. Stainier
    • , Geraldine Seydoux
    • , Stephanie E. Mohr
    • , Johannes Zuber
    •  & Norbert Perrimon

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