A superfamily of Arabidopsis thaliana retrotransposons

A. Konieczny, D. F. Voytas, M. P. Cummings, F. M. Ausubel

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150 Scopus citations


We describe a superfamily of Arabidopsis thaliana retrotransposable elements that consists of at least ten related families designated Ta1-Ta10. The Ta1 family has been described previously. Two genomic clones representing the Ta2 and Ta3 elements were isolated from an A. thaliana (race Landsberg erecta) λ library using sequences derived from the reverse transcriptase region of Ta1 as hybridization probes. Nucleotide sequence analysis showed that the Ta1, Ta2 and Ta3 families share >75% amino acid identity in pairwise comparisons of their reverse transcriptase and RNase H genes. In addition to Ta1, Ta2 and Ta3, we identified seven other related retrotransposon families in Landsberg erecta, Ta4-Ta10, using degenerate primers and the polymerase chain reaction to amplify a highly conserved region of retrotransposon-encoded reverse transcriptase. One to two copies of elements Ta2-Ta10 are present in the genomes of the A. thaliana races Landsberg erecta and Columbia indicating that the superfamily comprises at least 0.1% of the A. thaliana genome. The nucleotide sequences of the reverse transcriptase regions of the ten element families place them in the category of copia-like retrotransposons and phylogenetic analysis of the amino acid sequences suggests that horizontal transfer may have played a role in their evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-809
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 12 1991

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