Defending the genome from the enemy within: mechanisms of retrotransposon suppression in the mouse germline

James H Crichton, Donncha S Dunican, Marie Maclennan, Richard Meehan, Ian R Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract

The viability of any species requires that the genome is kept stable as it is transmitted from generation to generation by the germ cells. One of the challenges to transgenerational genome stability is the potential mutagenic activity of transposable genetic elements, particularly retrotransposons. There are many different types of retrotransposon in mammalian genomes, and these target different points in germline development to amplify and integrate into new genomic locations. Germ cells, and their pluripotent developmental precursors, have evolved a variety of genome defence mechanisms that suppress retrotransposon activity and maintain genome stability across the generations. Here, we review recent advances in understanding how retrotransposon activity is suppressed in the mammalian germline, how genes involved in germline genome defence mechanisms are regulated, and the consequences of mutating these genome defence genes for the developing germline.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1581-1605
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Volume71
Issue number9
Early online date18 Sep 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

Keywords

  • Retrotransposon
  • Germ Cells
  • Genome defence
  • Epigenetics
  • DNA Methylation
  • Mouse
  • Meiosis

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