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Title: An ancient trans-kingdom horizontal transfer of Penelope -like retroelements from arthropods to conifers

Author: Lin, Xuan; Faridi, Nurul; Casola, Claudio;

Date: 2016

Source: Genome Biology and Evolution

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Comparative genomics analyses empowered by the wealth of sequenced genomes have revealed numerous instances of horizontal DNA transfers between distantly related species. In  eukaryotes, repetitive DNA sequences known as transposable elements (TEs) are especially prone to  move across species boundaries. Such horizontal transposon transfers, or HTTs, are relatively  common within major eukaryotic kingdoms, including animals, plants and fungi, while rarely  occurring across these kingdoms. Here, we describe the first case of HTT from animals to plants,  involving TEs known as Penelope- like elements, or PLEs, a group of retrotransposons closely  related to eukaryotic telomerases. Using a combination of in situ hybridizations on chromosomes,  PCR experiments and computational analyses we show that the predominant PLE lineage, EN(+)PLEs, is  highly diversified in loblolly pine and other conifers, but appears to be absent in other  gymnosperms. Phylogenetic analyses of both protein and DNA sequences reveal that conifers  EN(+)PLEs, or Dryads, form a monophyletic group clustering within a clade of primarily arthropod  elements. Additionally, no EN(+)PLEs were detected in 1,928 genome assemblies from 1,029  non-metazoan and non-conifer genomes from fourteen major eukaryotic lineages. These findings indicate that Dryads emerged following an ancient horizontal transfer of EN(+)PLEs from arthropods  to a common ancestor of conifers ~340 million years ago. This represents one of the oldest known interspecific transmissions of transposable elements, and the most conspicuous case of DNA transfer between animals and plants.

Keywords: lateral transmission, transposable elements, Dryads, loblolly pine

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Lin, Xuan; Faridi, Nurul; Casola, Claudio 2016. An ancient trans-kingdom horizontal transfer of Penelope -like retroelements from arthropods to conifers . Genome Biology and Evolution: evw076-.  46 p.  10.1093/gbe/evw076


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