Allelic Heterogeneity in LINE-1 Retrotransposition Activity

Sheila M. Lutz, Bethaney J. Vincent, Haig H. Kazazian, Mark A. Batzer, John V. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


De novo LINE-1 (long interspersed element-1, or L1) retrotransposition events are responsible for ∼1/1,000 disease-causing mutations in humans. Previously, L1.2 was identified as the likely progenitor of a mutagenic insertion in the factor VIII gene in a patient with hemophilia A. It subsequently was shown to be one of a small number of active L1s in the human genome. Here, we demonstrate that L1.2 is present at an intermediate insertion allele frequency in worldwide human populations and that common alleles (L1.2A and L1.2B) exhibit an ∼16-fold difference in their ability to retrotranspose in cultured human HeLa cells. Chimera analysis revealed that two amino acid substitutions (S1259L and I1220M) downstream of the conserved cysteine-rich motif in L1 open reading frame 2 are largely responsible for the observed reduction in L1.2A retrotransposition efficiency. Thus, common L1 alleles can vary widely in their retrotransposition potential. We propose that such allelic heterogeneity can influence the potential L1 mutational load present in an individual genome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1431-1437
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of human genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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