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Mobile DNA elements can disrupt gene expression and cause biological variation, study shows
Date:2/23/2012

expression can be influenced very strongly by a transposon located quite a distance from the premature stop site up to many thousands of base pairs away in the genomic DNA. We also found that gene expression is influenced by whether the ERV was inherited from the father or the mother," he says.

A mouse gene containing an ERV inherited from the father often produced only an incomplete, truncated form of messenger RNA (mRNA); if the ERV came from the mother, not only the truncated transcript but also nearly normal levels of the full-length mRNA were produced from the gene.

"We believe this is an unusual, interesting example of a well-known phenomenon called DNA imprinting," Symer says. "We are now conducting experiments to understand how premature termination of gene expression can be triggered by the transposons, and also how the parent-of-origin effect occurs."

By comparing patterns of gene expression near the ERVs that were present or absent in the different strains, the researchers found about 100 genes whose expression appears to be disrupted when an ERV is present nearby.

"We observed very, very strong disruption of certain mouse genes by ERVs acting at a long genomic distance, and the resulting expression differences up to almost 50-fold changes can have major biological consequences that distinguish between the strains," Symer says.


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Contact: Darrell E. Ward
Darrell.Ward@osumc.edu
614-293-3737
Ohio State University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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