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Exploring the Remote Ties between Helitron Transposases and Other Rolling-Circle Replication Proteins.


ABSTRACT: Rolling-circle replication (RCR) elements constitute a diverse group that includes viruses, plasmids, and transposons, present in hosts from all domains of life. Eukaryotic RCR transposons, also known as Helitrons, are found in species from all eukaryotic kingdoms, sometimes representing a large portion of their genomes. Despite the impact of Helitrons on their hosts, knowledge about their relationship with other RCR elements is still elusive. Here, we compared the endonuclease domain sequence of Helitron transposases with the corresponding region from RCR proteins found in a wide variety of mobile genetic elements. To do that, we used a stepwise alignment approach followed by phylogenetic and multidimensional scaling analyses. Although it has been suggested that Helitrons might have originated from prokaryotic transposons or eukaryotic viruses, our results indicate that Helitron transposases share more similarities with proteins from prokaryotic viruses and plasmids instead. We also provide evidence for the division of RCR endonucleases into three groups (Y1, Y2, and Yx), covering the whole diversity of this protein family. Together, these results point to prokaryotic elements as the likely closest ancestors of eukaryotic RCR transposons, and further demonstrate the fluidity that characterizes the boundaries separating viruses, plasmids, and transposons.

SUBMITTER: Heringer P 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6213432 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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