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Transposons and Retrotransposons

Volume 1400 of the series Methods in Molecular Biology pp 157-163

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L1 Retrotransposition in Neural Progenitor Cells

  • Alysson R. MuotriAffiliated withDepartment of Cellular & Molecular Medicine, Stem Cell Program, University of California San Diego, School of Medicine, Pediatrics/Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego Email author 

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Abstract

Long interspersed nucleotide element 1 (LINE-1 or L1) is a family of non-LTR retrotransposons that can replicate and reintegrate into the host genome. L1s have considerably influenced mammalian genome evolution by retrotransposing during germ cell development or early embryogenesis, leading to massive genome expansion. For many years, L1 retrotransposons were viewed as a selfish DNA parasite that had no contribution in somatic cells. Historically, L1s were thought to only retrotranspose during gametogenesis and in neoplastic processes, but recent studies have shown that L1s are extremely active in the mouse, rat, and human neuronal progenitor cells (NPCs). These de novo L1 insertions can impact neuronal transcriptional expression, creating unique transcriptomes of individual neurons, possibly contributing to the uniqueness of the individual cognition and mental disorders in humans.

Key words

LINE-1 L1 Retrotransposition Neural stem cells Neural progenitor cells Somatic mosaicism Brain