The Caenorhabditis briggsae genome contains active CbmaT1 and Tcb1 transposons
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. We present evidence, based on searches of publicly available databases, that the nematode Caenorhabditis briggsae has several maT-like transposons, which we have designated as CbmaT elements, dispersed throughout its genome. We also describe two additional transposon sequences that probably share their evolutionary history with the CbmaT transposons. One resembles a fold back variant of a CbmaT element, with long (380-bp) inverted terminal repeats (ITRs) that show a high degree (71%) of identity to CbmaT1. The other, which shares only the 26-bp ITR sequences with one of the CbmaT variants, is present in eight nearly identical copies, but does not have a transposase gene and may therefore be cross mobilised by a CbmaT transposase. Using PCR-based mobility assays,we show that CbmaT1 transposons are capable of excising from the C. briggsae genome. CbmaT1 excised approximately 500 times less frequently than Tcb1 in the reference strain AF16, but both CbmaT1 and Tcb1 excised at extremely high frequencies in the HK105 strain. The HK105 strain also exhibited a high frequency of spontaneous induction of unc-22 mutants, suggesting that it may be a mutator strain of C. briggsae.
Molecular Genetics and Genomics
Genetics not elsewhere classified