First evidence of miniature transposable elements in sponges (Porifera)
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Transposable elements play a vital role in genome evolution and may have been important for the formation of the early metazoan genome, but only little is known about transposons at this interface between unicellular opisthokonts and Metazoa. Here, we describe the first miniature transposable elements (MITEs, Queen1 and Queen2) in sponges. Queen1 and Queen2 are probably derived from Tc1/mariner-like MITE families and are represented in more than 3,800 and 1,700 copies, respectively, in the Amphimedon queenslandica genome. Queen elements are located in intergenic regions as well as in introns, providing the potential to induce new splicing sites and termination signals in the genes. Further possible impacts of MITEs on the evolution of the metazoan genome are discussed.
KeywordsEarly diverging Metazoa Porifera Transposable element MITE Amphimedon queenslandica Queen elements
DE acknowledges financial support of the EU under a Marie–Curie Outgoing International Fellowship (MOIF–CT–2004 No2882). JS, GC, and GW thank the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for financial support (SCHM1469/3-1; Wo896/6-2 within SPP1174 “Deep Metazoan Phylogeny”). DH is supported by the Israel Science Foundation (600/06) and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent, NSF #EF-0905606.) The research was supported by an Australia Research Council grant to BMD. We thank Robert Baertsch for a local version of the UCSC Genome Browser and the A. queenslandica sequence library, Jürgen Brosius, Oliver Piskurek and two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on earlier versions of the manuscript and Marsha Bundman for editing services.
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