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Retroelements as controlling elements in mammals

Thomson, Gabrielle Anne, Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences, Faculty of Science, UNSW


  • Title:
    Retroelements as controlling elements in mammals
  • Author/Creator: Thomson, Gabrielle Anne, Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences, Faculty of Science, UNSW
  • Subjects: retroelement; transcriptional interference; chimeric transcripts
  • Resource type: Thesis
  • Type of thesis: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2006
  • Awarding institution: University of New South Wales. Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences
  • Description: Retroelements are genomic parasites which make up ~42% of the human genome and 38% of the mouse genome. Most are degenerate, but a large number have relatively intact promoter elements, suggesting that they are capable of transcription. Transcriptionally active retroelements can perturb normal transcription units in their vicinity through a variety of mechanisms, leading to phenotypic effects and in some cases disease. This phenomenon of transcriptional interference has been observed in organisms as diverse as maize, Drosophila, and the mouse. We analysed the extent of retroelement transcription in normal and diseased tissues, by searching the mouse and human EST databases for transcripts originating in retroelement promoters, and found a large number of transcripts from LINEs, SINEs and ERVs. Retroelement transcripts were found to be initiated in both sense and antisense orientations, and to be equally as common in normal and diseased tissue. Several of these transcripts were chimeric, appearing to initiate in retroelements and reading through to cellular genes, suggestive of transcriptional interference. We have used transposon display to identify and recover retroelement transcripts in the mouse. Transcripts initiated in LINE, SINE and ERV promoters are numerous, and many are chimeric with cellular genes. Although the numbers of recovered chimeric transcripts are too large to permit rigorous analysis of more than a small proportion, some of those we have studied further appear to be authentic transcripts that may represent interference with the canonical promoters of the genes in question. Our results suggest that transcriptional interference by retroelements may be a relatively common occurrence in mammals.
  • Language: English
  • Rights: Copyright Gabrielle Anne Thomson;

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