Zepp, a LINE-like retrotransposon accumulated in the Chlorella telomeric region

Takanobu Higashiyama, Yoshiteru Noutoshi, Makoto Fujie, Takashi Yamada

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68 Citations (Scopus)


Six copies of insertion elements accumulate in the subtelomeric region immediately proximal to the telomeric repeats on Chlorella chromosome I. The elements, designated Zepps, bear the characteristic features of non-viral (LINE-like) retrotransposons, including a poly(A) tail, 5'-truncations, a retroviral reverse transcriptase-like ORF and flanking target duplications. Detailed sequence analysis of the Chlorella subtelomeric region revealed a novel mechanism of Zepp transposition; successive insertions of each Zepp element into another Zepp as a target, leaving a tandem array of their 3'-regions with poly(A) tracts facing toward the centromere. Only the most distal Zepp copy was inverted to connect its poly(A) tail with the telomeric repeats. A similar Zepp cluster but without the telomeric repeats was also found at the terminus of another Chlorella chromosome. These structures contrast with that proposed for the addition of HeT-A and TART elements to Drosophila telomeres. Expression of Zepp elements is induced by heat shock treatment. Possible roles of the subtelomeric retrotransposons in formation and maintenance of telomeres are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3715-3723
Number of pages9
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 16 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Algal chromosome
  • LINE-like retrotransposon
  • Nested integration
  • Telomeric repeats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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