Retrotransposon-like sequences integrated into the genome of pineapple, Ananas comosus

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Abstract

Retrotransposon-like sequences have been serendipitously detected in the genome of commercial pineapple, Ananas comosus. The sequence from a 2.6 kb cloned fragment of this element had greatest similarity to the del1 Lilium henryi retrotransposon and the gypsy/Ty3 group of retroelements. The order of the genes from 5′ to 3′ was reverse transcriptase, ribonuclease H and integrase. The integrase domain contained the amino acid sequence motifs which have been associated with recognition of the long terminal repeats and with the cutting/joining reactions required for integration of similar retroelements into the host genome. The retrotransposon existed as a population of variable sequences which were dispersed throughout the genome of pineapple. Southern hybridisation showed that the retrotransposon had integrated repeatedly into the pineapple genome. The reading frame of the element was not interrupted by stop codons, suggesting that it is still potentially capable of transposing. This is the first report of a retrotransposon in pineapple, which we have called dea1 (for dispersed element of Ananas).

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