, Volume 277, Issue 4, pp 357-364
Date: 29 Nov 2006

Mutator-like elements identified in melon, Arabidopsis and rice contain ULP1 protease domains

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The transposon Mutator was first identified in maize, and is one of the most active mobile elements in plants. The Arabidopsis thaliana genome contains at least 200 Mutator-like elements (MULEs), which contain the Mutator-like transposase gene, and often additional genes. We have detected a novel type of MULEs in melon (CUMULE), which, besides the transposase, contains two ubiquitin-like specific protease-like sequences (ULP1). This element is not present in the observed location in some melon cultivars. Multiple copies of this element exist in the Cucumis melo genome, and it has been detected in other Cucurbitaceae species. Analysis of the A. thaliana genome revealed more than 90 CUMULE-like elements, containing one or two Ulp1-like sequences, although no evidence of mobility exists for these elements. We detected various putative transposable elements containing ULP1-like sequences in rice. The discovery of these MULEs in melon and Arabidopsis, and the existence of similar elements in rice and maize, suggest that a proteolytic function may be important for this subset of the MULE transposable elements.

Communicated by M.-A. Grandbastien.
Nucleotide sequence data reported are available in the GenBank database under the accession number AY524004.