Deletion of Peg10, an imprinted gene acquired from a retrotransposon, causes early embryonic lethality.
ABSTRACT By comparing mammalian genomes, we and others have identified actively transcribed Ty3/gypsy retrotransposon-derived genes with highly conserved DNA sequences and insertion sites. To elucidate the functions of evolutionarily conserved retrotransposon-derived genes in mammalian development, we produced mice that lack one of these genes, Peg10 (paternally expressed 10), which is a paternally expressed imprinted gene on mouse proximal chromosome 6. The Peg10 knockout mice showed early embryonic lethality owing to defects in the placenta. This indicates that Peg10 is critical for mouse parthenogenetic development and provides the first direct evidence of an essential role of an evolutionarily conserved retrotransposon-derived gene in mammalian development.
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ABSTRACT: Reproductive disorders and infertility are surprisingly common in the human population as well as in other species. The decrease in fertility is a major cause of cow culling and economic loss in the dairy herd. The conception rate has been declining for the past 30-50 years. Conception rate is the product of fertilization and embryonic survival rates. In a previous study, we have identified associations of several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the signal transducer and activator 5A (STAT5A) with fertilization and survival rates in an in vitro experimental system. The objectives of this study are to fine map the STAT5A region in a search for causative mutations and to investigate the parent of origin expression of this gene. We have performed a total of 5,222 fertilizations and produced a total of 3,696 in vitro fertilized embryos using gametes from 440 cows and eight bulls. A total of 37 SNPs were developed in a 63.4-kb region of genomic sequence that includes STAT5A, STAT3, and upstream and downstream sequences of these genes. SNP153137 (G/C) in exon 8 of STAT5A was associated with a significant variability in embryonic survival and fertilization rate compared to all other examined SNPs. Expression analysis revealed that STAT5A is primarily monoallelically expressed in early embryonic stages but biallelically expressed in later fetal stages. Furthermore, the occurrence of monoallelic maternal expression of STAT5A was significantly higher in blastocysts, while paternal expression was more frequent in degenerative embryos. Our results imply that STAT5A affects embryonic survival in a manner influenced by developmental stage and allele parent of origin.BMC Genetics 02/2009; 10:13. · 2.47 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Scientific history has had a profound effect on the theories of evolution. At the beginning of the 21st century, molecular cell biology has revealed a dense structure of information-processing networks that use the genome as an interactive read-write (RW) memory system rather than an organism blueprint. Genome sequencing has documented the importance of mobile DNA activities and major genome restructuring events at key junctures in evolution: exon shuffling, changes in cis-regulatory sites, horizontal transfer, cell fusions and whole genome doublings (WGDs). The natural genetic engineering functions that mediate genome restructuring are activated by multiple stimuli, in particular by events similar to those found in the DNA record: microbial infection and interspecific hybridization leading to the formation of allotetraploids. These molecular genetic discoveries, plus a consideration of how mobile DNA rearrangements increase the efficiency of generating functional genomic novelties, make it possible to formulate a 21st century view of interactive evolutionary processes. This view integrates contemporary knowledge of the molecular basis of genetic change, major genome events in evolution, and stimuli that activate DNA restructuring with classical cytogenetic understanding about the role of hybridization in species diversification.Mobile DNA. 01/2010; 1(1):4.
Article: Inherent promoter bidirectionality facilitates maintenance of sequence integrity and transcription of parasitic DNA in mammalian genomes.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Many mammalian genes are arranged in a bidirectional manner, sharing a common promoter and regulatory elements. This is especially true for promoters containing a CpG island, usually unmethylated and associated with an 'open' or accessible chromatin structure. In evolutionary terms, a primary function of genomic methylation is postulated to entail protection of the host genome from the disruption associated with activity of parasitic or transposable elements. These are usually epigenetically silenced following insertion into mammalian genomes, becoming sequence degenerate over time. Despite this, it is clear that many transposable element-derived DNAs have evaded host-mediated epigenetic silencing to remain expressed (domesticated) in mammalian genomes, several of which have demonstrated essential roles during mammalian development. The current study provides evidence that many CpG island-associated promoters associated with single genes exhibit inherent bidirectionality, facilitating "hijack" by transposable elements to create novel antisense 'head-to-head' bidirectional gene pairs in the genome that facilitates escape from host-mediated epigenetic silencing. This is often associated with an increase in CpG island length and transcriptional activity in the antisense direction. From a list of over 60 predicted protein-coding genes derived from transposable elements in the human genome and 40 in the mouse, we have found that a significant proportion are orientated in a bidirectional manner with CpG associated regulatory regions. These data strongly suggest that the selective force that shields endogenous CpG-containing promoter from epigenetic silencing can extend to exogenous foreign DNA elements inserted in close proximity in the antisense orientation, with resulting transcription and maintenance of sequence integrity of such elements in the host genome. Over time, this may result in "domestication" of such elements to provide novel cellular and developmental functions.BMC Genomics 10/2009; 10:498. · 4.07 Impact Factor