, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 821-831

The genomic organization of non-LTR retrotransposons (LINEs) from three Beta species and five other angiosperms

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We have isolated and characterized conserved regions of the reverse transcriptase gene from non-LTR retrotransposons, also called long interspersed nuclear elements (LINEs), from Beta vulgaris, B. lomatogona and B. nana. The novel elements show strong homology to other non-LTR retrotransposons from plants, man and animals. LINEs are present in all species of the genus Beta tested, but there was variation in copy number. Analysis by Southern hybridization and fluorescent in situ hybridization revealed the clustered organization of these retroelements in beet species. PCR amplification using degenerate primers to conserved motifs of the predicted LINE protein sequence enabled the cloning of LINEs from both Monocotyledonae (Allium cepa, Oryza sativa and Secale cereale) and Dicotyledonae (Nicotiana tabacum and Antirrhinum majus) indicating that LINEs are a universal feature of plant genomes. A dendrogram of fifteen new and six previously isolated sequences showed the high level of sequence divergence while revealing families characteristic of some genera. The genomic organization of non-LTR retrotransposons was examined more detailed in A. majus and O. sativa.