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Control of mammalian retrotransposons by cellular RNA processing activities

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    Rights statement: Copyright © 2014 Landes Bioscience This is an open-access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. The article may be redistributed, reproduced, and reused for non-commercial purposes, provided the original source is properly cited.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e28439
JournalMobile Genetic Elements
Early online date6 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Retrotransposons make up roughly 50% of the mammalian genome and have played an important role in genome evolution. A small fraction of non-LTR retrotransposons, LINE-1 and SINE elements, is currently active in the human genome. These elements move in our genome using an intermediate RNA and a reverse transcriptase activity by a copy and paste mechanism. Their ongoing mobilization can impact the human genome leading to several human disorders. However, how the cell controls the activity of these elements minimizing their mutagenic effect is not fully understood. Recent studies have highlighted that the intermediate RNA of retrotransposons is a target of different mechanisms that limit the mobilization of endogenous retrotransposons in mammals. Here, we provide an overview of recent discoveries that show how RNA processing events can act to control the activity of mammalian retrotransposons and discuss several arising questions that remain to be answered.

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