L1 Retrotransposition in Neural Progenitor Cells

  • Alysson R. MuotriEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1400)


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 



The work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 MH094753-01, and the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award Program, 1-DP2-OD006495-01.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine, Stem Cell ProgramUniversity of California San Diego, School of Medicine, Pediatrics/Rady Children’s Hospital San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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