En/Spm-like transposons in poaceae species: Transposase sequence variability and chromosomal distribution

Ahu Altinkut, Olga Raskina, Eviatar Nevo, Alexander Belyayev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Belonging to Class II of transposable elements, En/Spm transposons are widespread in a variety of distantly related plant species. Here, we report on the sequence conservation of the transposase region from sequence analyses of En/Spm-like transposons from Poaceae species, namely Zingeria biebersteiniana, Zingeria trichopoda, Triticum monococcum, Triticum urartu, Hordeum spontaneum, and Aegilops speltoides. The transposase region of En/Spm-like transposons was cloned, sequenced, and compared with equivalent regions of Oryza and Arabidopsis from the gene bank database. Southern blot analysis indicated that the En/Spm transposon was present in low (Hordeum spontaneum, Triticum monococcum, Triticum urartu) through medium (Zingeria bieberstiana, Zingeria trichopoda) to relatively high (Aegilops speltoides) copy numbers in Poaceae species. A cytogenetic analysis of the chromosomal distribution of En/Spm transposons revealed the concurence of the chromosomal localization of the En/Spm clusters with mobile clusters of rDNA. An analysis of En/Spm-like transposase amino acid sequences was carried out to investigate sequence divergence between 5 genera - Triticum, Aegilops, Zingeria, Oryza and Arabidopsis. A distance matrix was generated; apparently, En/Spm-like transposase sequences shared the highest sequence homology intra-generically and, as expected, these sequences were significantly diverged from those of O. sativa and A. thaliana. A sequence comparison of En/Spm-like transposase coding regions defined that the intra-genomic complex of En/Spm-like transposons could be viewed as relatively independent, vertically transmitted, and permanently active systems inside higher plant genomes. The sequence data from this article was deposited in the EMBL/GenBank Data Libraries under the accession nos. AY707995 - AY707996 - AY707997 - AY707998 - AY707999 - AY708000 - AY708001 - AY708002 - AY708003 - AY708004 - AY708005 - AY708005 - AY265312.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-229
Number of pages16
JournalCellular and Molecular Biology Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. We would like to thank Violleta Kotseruba for providing seeds of Z. biebersteiniana and Z. trichopoda. This study was partly supported by research fellowships to Dr. Ahu Altinkut from the UNESCO Loreal Young Women Scientist Fellowship and IPGRI – the Vavilov Frankel Fellowship.


  • En/Spm
  • Evolution
  • In situ hybridization
  • Poaceae
  • Sequence
  • Transposase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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