Mobile elements

Mobile elements are DNA sequences that can move around the genome, changing their number of copies or simply changing their location, often affecting the activity of nearby genes. They include DNA transposable elements, plasmids and bacteriophage elements. The total of all mobile genetic elements in a genome may be referred to as the mobilome.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    CRISPR–Cas systems in bacteria and archaea have multifaceted evolutionary relationships with mobile genetic elements (MGEs), including viruses, plasmids and transposons. CRISPR–Cas systems or their components have also been recruited by MGEs on many independent occasions. In this Analysis article, Koonin and colleagues investigate and substantially expand the range of CRISPR–Cas components carried by MGEs.

    • Guilhem Faure
    • , Sergey A. Shmakov
    • , Winston X. Yan
    • , David R. Cheng
    • , David A. Scott
    • , Joseph E. Peters
    • , Kira S. Makarova
    •  & Eugene V. Koonin
  • Reviews |

    Transposable elements (TEs) need to be tightly regulated in genomes to prevent the detrimental consequences of transposition. In this Review, Deniz, Frost and Branco discuss how DNA methylation dynamics play a central role in the multilayered epigenetic mechanisms regulating TEs. Beyond roles for 5-methylcytosine (5mC), they discuss TET-mediated oxidation products of 5mC, as well as ongoing debates about the functional relevance of adenine methylation.

    • Özgen Deniz
    • , Jennifer M. Frost
    •  & Miguel R. Branco
  • Research | | open

    Wolbachia bacteria live within the cells of many insects, including the mosquito Culex pipiens. Here, the authors analyse new and existing Wolbachia metagenomes from C. pipiens mosquitoes and find evidence of a plasmid, which may facilitate genetic manipulation of these bacteria for vector control applications.

    • Julie Reveillaud
    • , Sarah R. Bordenstein
    • , Corinne Cruaud
    • , Alon Shaiber
    • , Özcan C. Esen
    • , Mylène Weill
    • , Patrick Makoundou
    • , Karen Lolans
    • , Andrea R. Watson
    • , Ignace Rakotoarivony
    • , Seth R. Bordenstein
    •  & A. Murat Eren
  • Research | | open

    Transposable element (TE) bursts shape genome evolution but their origin remains unclear. Here, the authors show that a burst is restricted to only a few domesticated rice accessions and is associated with the acquisition of two TE variants, Ping16A and Ping16A_Stow, not the loss of TE silencing.

    • Jinfeng Chen
    • , Lu Lu
    • , Jazmine Benjamin
    • , Stephanie Diaz
    • , C. Nathan Hancock
    • , Jason E. Stajich
    •  & Susan R. Wessler
  • Reviews |

    The repetitive nature of transposable elements (TEs) creates bioinformatic challenges that frequently result in them being disregarded (‘masked’) in analyses. As physiological and pathological roles for TEs become increasingly appreciated, this Review discusses bioinformatics tools dedicated to TE analysis, including for genomic annotation, TE classification, identifying polymorphisms and assessing likely functional impacts.

    • Patricia Goerner-Potvin
    •  & Guillaume Bourque
  • Research | | open

    Large-scale patterns of genomic repeat element evolution have been studied mainly in birds and mammals. Here, the authors analyze the genomes of over 60 squamate reptiles and show high variation in repeat elements compared to mammals and birds, and particularly high microsatellite seeding in snakes.

    • Giulia I. M. Pasquesi
    • , Richard H. Adams
    • , Daren C. Card
    • , Drew R. Schield
    • , Andrew B. Corbin
    • , Blair W. Perry
    • , Jacobo Reyes-Velasco
    • , Robert P. Ruggiero
    • , Michael W. Vandewege
    • , Jonathan A. Shortt
    •  & Todd A. Castoe

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