R2 is an extensively investigated non-LTR retrotransposon that specifically inserts into the 28S rRNA gene sequences of a wide range of metazoans, disrupting its functionality. During R2 integration, first strand synthesis can be incomplete so that 5’ end deleted copies are occasionally inserted. While active R2 copies repopulate the locus by retrotransposing, the non-functional truncated elements should frequently be eliminated by molecular drive processes leading to the concerted evolution of the rDNA array(s). Although, multiple R2 lineages have been discovered in the genome of many animals, the rDNA of the stick insect Bacillus rossius exhibits a peculiar situation: it harbors both a canonical, functional R2 element (R2Brfun) as well as a full-length but degenerate element (R2Brdeg). An intensive sequencing survey in the present study reveals that all truncated variants in stick insects are present in multiple copies suggesting they were duplicated by unequal recombination. Sequencing results also demonstrate that all R2Brdeg copies are full-length, i. e. they have no associated 5' end deletions, and functional assays indicate they have lost the active ribozyme necessary for R2 RNA maturation. Although it cannot be completely ruled out, it seems unlikely that the degenerate elements replicate via reverse transcription, exploiting the R2Brfun element enzymatic machinery, but rather via genomic amplification of inserted 28S by unequal recombination. That inactive copies (both R2Brdeg or 5'-truncated elements) are not eliminated in a short term in stick insects contrasts with findings for the Drosophila R2, suggesting a widely different management of rDNA loci and a lower efficiency of the molecular drive while achieving the concerted evolution.

Dead element replicating: Degenerate R2 element replication and rDNA genomic turnover in the bacillus rossius stick insect (Insecta: Phasmida)

SCAVARIELLO, CLAUDIA;LUCHETTI, ANDREA;MANTOVANI, BARBARA
2015

Abstract

R2 is an extensively investigated non-LTR retrotransposon that specifically inserts into the 28S rRNA gene sequences of a wide range of metazoans, disrupting its functionality. During R2 integration, first strand synthesis can be incomplete so that 5’ end deleted copies are occasionally inserted. While active R2 copies repopulate the locus by retrotransposing, the non-functional truncated elements should frequently be eliminated by molecular drive processes leading to the concerted evolution of the rDNA array(s). Although, multiple R2 lineages have been discovered in the genome of many animals, the rDNA of the stick insect Bacillus rossius exhibits a peculiar situation: it harbors both a canonical, functional R2 element (R2Brfun) as well as a full-length but degenerate element (R2Brdeg). An intensive sequencing survey in the present study reveals that all truncated variants in stick insects are present in multiple copies suggesting they were duplicated by unequal recombination. Sequencing results also demonstrate that all R2Brdeg copies are full-length, i. e. they have no associated 5' end deletions, and functional assays indicate they have lost the active ribozyme necessary for R2 RNA maturation. Although it cannot be completely ruled out, it seems unlikely that the degenerate elements replicate via reverse transcription, exploiting the R2Brfun element enzymatic machinery, but rather via genomic amplification of inserted 28S by unequal recombination. That inactive copies (both R2Brdeg or 5'-truncated elements) are not eliminated in a short term in stick insects contrasts with findings for the Drosophila R2, suggesting a widely different management of rDNA loci and a lower efficiency of the molecular drive while achieving the concerted evolution.
PLOS ONE
Martoni F.; Eickbush D.G.; Scavariello C.; Luchetti A.; Mantovani B.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/481168
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