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Restriction of retrotransposon mobilization in Schizosaccharomyces pombe by transcriptional silencing and higher-order chromatin organization

Lookup NU author(s): Heather Murton, Clement Chan, Dr Simon Whitehall



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Uncontrolled propagation of retrotransposons is potentially detrimental to host genome integrity. Therefore, cells have evolved surveillance mechanisms to restrict the mobility of these elements. In Schizosaccharomyces pombe the Tf2 long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons are transcriptionally silenced and are also clustered in the nucleus into structures termed Tf bodies. Here we describe the impact of silencing and clustering on the mobility of an endogenous Tf2 element. Deletion of genes such as set1+ (histone H3 lysine 4 methyltransferase) or abp1+ (CENP-B homolog) that both alleviate silencing and clustering, result in a corresponding increase in mobilization. Furthermore, expression of constitutively active Sre1, a transcriptional activator of Tf2 elements, also alleviates clustering and induces mobilization. In contrast, clustering is not disrupted by loss of the HIRA histone chaperone, despite high levels of expression, and in this background mobilization frequency is only marginally increased. Thus, mutations which compromise transcriptional silencing but not Tf bodies are insufficient to drive mobilization. Furthermore, analyses of mutant alleles which separate the transcriptional repression and clustering functions of Set1 are consistent with control of Tf2 propagation via a combination of silencing and spatial organisation. Our results indicate that host surveillance mechanisms operate at multiple levels to restrict Tf2 retrotransposon mobilization

Publication metadata

Author(s): Murton HE, Grady PJR, Chan TH, Cam HP, Whitehall SK

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Genetics

Year: 2016

Volume: 203

Issue: 3

Print publication date: 01/07/2016

Online publication date: 24/06/2016

Acceptance date: 20/06/2016

Date deposited: 20/06/2016

ISSN (electronic): 1943-2631

Publisher: Genetics Society of America


DOI: 10.1534/genetics.116.189118

PubMed id: 27343236


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