CemaT1 is an active transposon within the Caenorhabditis elegans genome
The maT clade of transposons is a group of transposable elements intermediate in sequence and predicted protein structure to mariner and Tc transposons, with a distribution thus far limited to a few invertebrate species. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, there are eight copies of CemaT1 that are predicted to encode a functional transposase, with five copies being >99% identical. We present evidence, based on searches of publicly available databases and on PCR-based mobility assays, that the CemaT1 transposase is expressed in C. elegans and that the CemaT transposons are capable of excising in both somatic and germline tissues. We also show that the frequency of CemaT1 excisions within the genome of the N2 strain of C. elegans is comparable to that of the Tc1 transposon. However, unlike Tc transposons in mutator strains of C. elegans, maT transposons do not exhibit increased frequencies of mobility, suggesting that maT is not regulated by the same factors that control Tc activity in these strains. Finally, we show that CemaT1 transposons are capable of precise transpositions as well as orientation inversions at some loci, and thereby become members of an increasing number of identified active transposons within the C. elegans genome.
Genome Structure and Regulation