Identification of novel non-autonomous CemaT transposable elements and evidence of their mobility within the C. elegans genome
We describe here two new transposable elements, CemaT4 and CemaT5, that were identified within the sequenced genome of Caenorhabditis elegans using homology based searches. Five variants of CemaT4 were found, all non-autonomous and sharing 26 bp inverted terminal repeats (ITRs) and segments (152-367 bp) of sequence with similarity to the CemaT1 transposon of C. elegans. Sixteen copies of a short, 30 bp repetitive sequence, comprised entirely of an inverted repeat of the first 15 bp of CemaT4's ITR, were also found, each flanked by TA dinucleotide duplications, which are hallmarks of target site duplications of mariner-Tc transposon transpositions. The CemaT5 transposable element had no similarity to maT elements, except for sharing identical ITR sequences with CemaT3. We provide evidence that CemaT5 and CemaT3 are capable of excising from the C. elegans genome, despite neither transposon being capable of encoding a functional transposase enzyme. Presumably, these two transposons are cross-mobilised by an autonomous transposon that recognises their shared ITRs. The excisions of these and other non-autonomous elements may provide opportunities for abortive gap repair to create internal deletions and/or insert novel sequence within these transposons. The influence of non-autonomous element mobility and structural diversity on genome variation is discussed.
Genome Structure and Regulation