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Transposon-driven transcription is a conserved feature of vertebrate spermatogenesis and transcript evolution.

TitleTransposon-driven transcription is a conserved feature of vertebrate spermatogenesis and transcript evolution.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsDavis MP, Carrieri C, Saini HK, van Dongen S, Leonardi T, Bussotti G, Monahan JM, Auchynnikava T, Bitetti A, Rappsilber J, Allshire RC, Shkumatava A, O'Carroll D, Enright AJ
JournalEMBO Rep
Date Published2017 May 12
ISSN1469-3178
Abstract

Spermatogenesis is associated with major and unique changes to chromosomes and chromatin. Here, we sought to understand the impact of these changes on spermatogenic transcriptomes. We show that long terminal repeats (LTRs) of specific mouse endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) drive the expression of many long non-coding transcripts (lncRNA). This process occurs post-mitotically predominantly in spermatocytes and round spermatids. We demonstrate that this transposon-driven lncRNA expression is a conserved feature of vertebrate spermatogenesis. We propose that transposon promoters are a mechanism by which the genome can explore novel transcriptional substrates, increasing evolutionary plasticity and allowing for the genesis of novel coding and non-coding genes. Accordingly, we show that a small fraction of these novel ERV-driven transcripts encode short open reading frames that produce detectable peptides. Finally, we find that distinct ERV elements from the same subfamilies act as differentially activated promoters in a tissue-specific context. In summary, we demonstrate that LTRs can act as tissue-specific promoters and contribute to post-mitotic spermatogenic transcriptome diversity.

DOI10.15252/embr.201744059
Alternate JournalEMBO Rep.
PubMed ID28500258
Publication institute
CRM