• Retrotransposons Mimic Germ Plasm Determinants to Promote Transgenerational Inheritance.

Retrotransposons Mimic Germ Plasm Determinants to Promote Transgenerational Inheritance.

Current biology : CB (2017-10-03)
Bhavana Tiwari, Paula Kurtz, Amanda E Jones, Annika Wylie, James F Amatruda, Devi Prasad Boggupalli, Graydon B Gonsalvez, John M Abrams

Retrotransposons are a pervasive class of mobile elements present in the genomes of virtually all forms of life [1, 2]. In metazoans, these are preferentially active in the germline, which, in turn, mounts defenses that restrain their activity [3, 4]. Here we report that certain classes of retrotransposons ensure transgenerational inheritance by invading presumptive germ cells before they are formed. Using sensitized Drosophila and zebrafish models, we found that diverse classes of retrotransposons migrate to the germ plasm, a specialized region of the oocyte that prefigures germ cells and specifies the germline of descendants in the fertilized egg. In Drosophila, we found evidence for a "stowaway" model, whereby Tahre retroelements traffic to the germ plasm by mimicking oskar RNAs and engaging the Staufen-dependent active transport machinery. Consistent with this, germ plasm determinants attracted retroelement RNAs even when these components were ectopically positioned in bipolar oocytes. Likewise, vertebrate retrotransposons similarly migrated to the germ plasm in zebrafish oocytes. Together, these results suggest that germ plasm targeting represents a fitness strategy adopted by some retrotransposons to ensure transgenerational propagation.

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Dextran sulfate sodium salt from Leuconostoc spp., for molecular biology, average Mw >500,000 (dextran starting material), contains 0.5-2% phosphate buffer