SVA elements are nonautonomous retrotransposons that cause disease in humans.
ABSTRACT: L1 elements are the only active autonomous retrotransposons in the human genome. The nonautonomous Alu elements, as well as processed pseudogenes, are retrotransposed by the L1 retrotransposition proteins working in trans. Here, we describe another repetitive sequence in the human genome, the SVA element. Our analysis reveals that SVA elements are currently active in the human genome. SVA elements, like Alus and L1s, occasionally insert into genes and cause disease. Furthermore, SVA elements are probably mobilized in trans by active L1 elements.
Project description:SINE-VNTR-Alu (SVA) elements are non-autonomous, hominid-specific non-LTR retrotransposons and distinguished by their organization as composite mobile elements. They represent the evolutionarily youngest, currently active family of human non-LTR retrotransposons, and sporadically generate disease-causing insertions. Since preexisting, genomic SVA sequences are characterized by structural hallmarks of Long Interspersed Elements 1 (LINE-1, L1)-mediated retrotransposition, it has been hypothesized for several years that SVA elements are mobilized by the L1 protein machinery in trans. To test this hypothesis, we developed an SVA retrotransposition reporter assay in cell culture using three different human-specific SVA reporter elements. We demonstrate that SVA elements are mobilized in HeLa cells only in the presence of both L1-encoded proteins, ORF1p and ORF2p. SVA trans-mobilization rates exceeded pseudogene formation frequencies by 12- to 300-fold in HeLa-HA cells, indicating that SVA elements represent a preferred substrate for L1 proteins. Acquisition of an AluSp element increased the trans-mobilization frequency of the SVA reporter element by ~25-fold. Deletion of (CCCTCT)(n) repeats and Alu-like region of a canonical SVA reporter element caused significant attenuation of the SVA trans-mobilization rate. SVA de novo insertions were predominantly full-length, occurred preferentially in G+C-rich regions, and displayed all features of L1-mediated retrotransposition which are also observed in preexisting genomic SVA insertions.
Project description:SINE-VNTR-Alus (SVA) are non-autonomous hominid specific retrotransposons that are associated with disease in humans. SVAs are evolutionarily young and presumably mobilized by the LINE-1 reverse transcriptase in trans. SVAs are currently active and may impact the host through a variety of mechanisms including insertional mutagenesis, exon shuffling, alternative splicing, and the generation of differentially methylated regions (DMR). Here we review SVA biology, including SVA insertions associated with known diseases. Further, we discuss a model describing the initial formation of SVA and the mechanisms by which SVA may impact the host.
Project description:Human retrotransposons generate structural variation and genomic diversity through ongoing retrotransposition and non-allelic homologous recombination. Cell culture retrotransposition assays have provided great insight into the genomic impact of retrotransposons, in particular, LINE-1(L1) and Alu elements; however, no such assay exists for the youngest active human retrotransposon, SINE-VNTR-Alu (SVA). Here we report the development of an SVA cell culture retrotransposition assay. We marked several SVAs with either neomycin or EGFP retrotransposition indicator cassettes. Engineered SVAs retrotranspose using L1 proteins supplemented in trans in multiple cell lines, including U2OS osteosarcoma cells where SVA retrotransposition is equal to that of an engineered L1. Engineered SVAs retrotranspose at 1-54 times the frequency of a marked pseudogene in HeLa HA cells. Furthermore, our data suggest a variable requirement for L1 ORF1p for SVA retrotransposition. Recovered engineered SVA insertions display all the hallmarks of LINE-1 retrotransposition and some contain 5' and 3' transductions, which are common for genomic SVAs. Of particular interest is the fact that four out of five insertions recovered from one SVA are full-length, with the 5' end of these insertions beginning within 5 nt of the CMV promoter transcriptional start site. This assay demonstrates that SVA elements are indeed mobilized in trans by L1. Previously intractable questions regarding SVA biology can now be addressed.
Project description:Although most human retrotransposons are inactive, both inactive and active retrotransposons drive genome evolution and may influence transcription through various mechanisms. In humans, three retrotransposon families are still active, but one of these, SVA, remains mysterious. Here we report the identification of a new subfamily of SVA, which apparently formed after an alternative splicing event where the first exon of the MAST2 gene spliced into an intronic SVA and subsequently retrotransposed. Additional examples of SVA retrotransposing upstream exons due to splicing into SVA were also identified in other primate genomes. After molecular and computational experiments, we found a number of functional 3' splice sites within many different transcribed SVAs across the human and chimpanzee genomes. Using a minigene splicing construct containing an SVA, we observed splicing in cell culture, along with SVA exonization events that introduced premature termination codons (PTCs). These data imply that an SVA residing within an intron in the same orientation as the gene may alter normal gene transcription either by gene-trapping or by introducing PTCs through exonization, possibly creating differences within and across species.
Project description:Mobile elements are responsible for half of the human genome. Among the elements, L1 and Alu are most ubiquitous. They use L1 enzymatic machinery to move in their host genomes. A significant amount of research has been conducted about these two elements. The results showed that these two elements have played important roles in generating genomic variations between human and chimpanzee lineages and even within a species, through various mechanisms. SVA elements are a third type of mobile element which uses the L1 enzymatic machinery to propagate in the human genome but has not been studied much relative to the other elements. Here, we attempt the first identification of the human genomic deletions caused by SVA elements, through the comparison of human and chimpanzee genome sequences. We identified 13?SVA recombination-associated deletions (SRADs) and 13?SVA insertion-mediated deletions (SIMDs) in the human genome and characterized them, focusing on deletion size and the mechanisms causing the events. The results showed that the SRADs and SIMDs have deleted 15,752 and 30,785?bp, respectively, in the human genome since the divergence of human and chimpanzee and that SRADs were caused by two different mechanisms, nonhomologous end joining and nonallelic homologous recombination.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Retrotransposons are a major component of the human genome constituting as much as 45%. The hominid specific SINE-VNTR-Alus are the youngest of these elements constituting 0.13% of the genome; they are therefore a practical and amenable group for analysis of both their global integration, polymorphic variation and their potential contribution to modulation of genome regulation. RESULTS: Consistent with insertion into active chromatin we have determined that SVAs are more prevalent in genic regions compared to gene deserts. The consequence of which, is that their integration has greater potential to have affects on gene regulation. The sequences of SVAs show potential for the formation of secondary structure including G-quadruplex DNA. We have shown that the human specific SVA subtypes (E-F1) show the greatest potential for forming G-quadruplexes within the central tandem repeat component in addition to the 5' 'CCCTCT' hexamer. We undertook a detailed analysis of the PARK7 SVA D, located in the promoter of the PARK7 gene (also termed DJ-1), in a HapMap cohort where we identified 2 variable number tandem repeat domains and 1 tandem repeat within this SVA with the 5' CCCTCT element being one of the variable regions. Functionally we were able to demonstrate that this SVA contains multiple regulatory elements that support reporter gene expression in vitro and further show these elements exhibit orientation dependency. CONCLUSIONS: Our data supports the hypothesis that SVAs integrate preferentially in to open chromatin where they could modify the existing transcriptional regulatory domains or alter expression patterns by a variety of mechanisms.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Mobile element insertions are a major source of human genomic variation. SVA (SINE-R/VNTR/Alu) is the youngest retrotransposon family in the human genome and a number of diseases are known to be caused by SVA insertions. However, inter-individual genomic variations generated by SVA insertions and their impacts have not been studied extensively due to the difficulty in identifying polymorphic SVA insertions. RESULTS:To systematically identify SVA insertions at the population level and assess their genomic impact, we developed a mobile element scanning (ME-Scan) protocol we called ME-Scan-SVA. Using a nested SVA-specific PCR enrichment method, ME-Scan-SVA selectively amplify the 5' end of SVA elements and their flanking genomic regions. To demonstrate the utility of the protocol, we constructed and sequenced a ME-Scan-SVA library of 21 individuals and analyzed the data using a new analysis pipeline designed for the protocol. Overall, the method achieved high SVA-specificity and over >90 % of the sequenced reads are from SVA insertions. The method also had high sensitivity (>90 %) for fixed SVA insertions that contain the SVA-specific primer-binding sites in the reference genome. Using candidate locus selection criteria that are expected to have a 90 % sensitivity, we identified 151 and 29 novel polymorphic SVA candidates under relaxed and stringent cutoffs, respectively (average 12 and 2 per individual). For six polymorphic SVAs that we were able to validate by PCR, the average individual genotype accuracy is 92 %, demonstrating a high accuracy of the computational genotype calling pipeline. CONCLUSIONS:The new approach allows identifying novel SVA insertions using high-throughput sequencing. It is cost-effective and can be applied in large-scale population study. It also can be applied for detecting potential active SVA elements, and somatic SVA retrotransposition events in different tissues or developmental stages.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Long interspersed nuclear element-1 (LINE-1 or L1) is a dominant repetitive sequence in the human genome. Besides mediating its own retrotransposition, L1 can mobilize Alu and messenger RNA (mRNA) in trans, and probably also SVA and non-coding RNA. The structures of L1 copies and trans-mobilized retrocopies are variable and can be classified into three categories: full-length; 5'-truncated; and 5'-inverted insertions. These structures may be generated by different 5' integration mechanisms. RESULTS: In this study, a method to correctly characterize insertions with short target site duplications (TSDs) is developed and extranucleotides, TSDs and microhomologies (MHs) at junctions were analysed for the three types of insertions. Only 5'-truncated L1 insertions were found to be associated with short TSDs. Both full-length and 5'-truncated retrotransposed sequences in trans, including Alu, SVA and mRNA retrocopies and also full-length and 5'-inverted L1, were not associated with short TSDs, indicating the difference of 5' attachment between retrotransposition in cis and retrotransposition in trans. Target sequence analysis suggested that short TSDs were generated in an L1 endonuclease-dependent manner. The MHs were longer for 5'-inverted L1 than for 5'-truncated L1, indicating less dependence on annealing in 5'-truncated L1 insertions. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that insertions flanked by short TSDs occur more often coupled with the insertion of 5'-truncated L1 than with those of other types of insertions in vivo. The method used in this study can be used to characterize elements without any apparent boundary structures.
Project description:RNA-based duplication mediated by reverse transcriptase (RT), a process termed retrotransposition, is ongoing in humans and is a source of significant inter- and perhaps intraindividual genomic variation. The long interspersed element 1 (LINE-1 or L1) ORF2 protein is the genomic source for RT activity required for mobilization of its own RNA in cis and other RNAs, such as SINE/variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR)/Alu (SVA) elements, in trans. SVA elements are ~2-kb hominid-specific noncoding RNAs that have resulted in single-gene disease in humans through insertional mutagenesis or aberrant mRNA splicing. Here, using an SVA retrotransposition cell culture assay in U2OS cells, we investigated SVA domains important in L1-mediated SVA retrotransposition. Partial- and whole-domain deletions revealed that removal of either the Alu-like or SINE-R domain in the context of a full-length SVA has little to no effect, whereas removal of the CT hexamer or the VNTR domain can result in a 75% decrease in activity. Additional experiments demonstrate that the Alu-like fragment alone can retrotranspose at low levels while the addition of the CT hexamer can enhance activity as much as 2-fold compared to that of the full-length SVA. These results suggest that no SVA domain is essential for retrotransposition in U2OS cells and that the 5' end of SVA (hexamer and Alu-like domain) is sufficient for retrotransposition.
Project description:Since the discovery of the high abundance of Alu elements in the human genome, the interest for the functional significance of these retrotransposons has been increasing. Primate Alu and rodent Alu-like elements are retrotransposed by a mechanism driven by the LINE1 (L1) encoded proteins, the same machinery that generates the L1 repeats, the processed pseudogenes (PPs), and other retroelements. Apart from free Alu RNAs, Alus are also transcribed and retrotranscribed as part of cellular gene transcripts, generally embedded inside 3' untranslated regions (UTRs). Despite different proposed hypotheses, the functional implication of the presence of Alus inside 3'UTRs remains elusive. In this study we hypothesized that Alu elements in 3'UTRs could be involved in the genesis of PPs. By analyzing human genome data we discovered that the existence of 3'UTR-embedded Alu elements is overrepresented in genes source of PPs. In contrast, the presence of other retrotransposable elements in 3'UTRs does not show this PP linked overrepresentation. This research was extended to mouse and rat genomes and the results accordingly reveal overrepresentation of 3'UTR-embedded B1 (Alu-like) elements in PP parent genes. Interestingly, we also demonstrated that the overrepresentation of 3'UTR-embedded Alus is particularly significant in PP parent genes with low germline gene expression level. Finally, we provide data that support the hypothesis that the L1 machinery is also the system that herpesviruses, and possibly other large DNA viruses, use to capture host genes expressed in germline or somatic cells. Altogether our results suggest a novel role for Alu or Alu-like elements inside 3'UTRs as facilitators of the genesis of PPs, particularly in lowly expressed genes. Moreover, we propose that this L1-driven mechanism, aided by the presence of 3'UTR-embedded Alus, may also be exploited by DNA viruses to incorporate host genes to their viral genomes.