Human L1 retrotransposon encodes a conserved endonuclease required for retrotransposition

Qinghua Feng, John V. Moran, Haig Kazazian, Jef D. Boeke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Human L1 elements are highly abundant poly(A) (nonLTR) retrotransposons whose second open reading frame (ORF2) encodes a reverse transcriptase (RT). We have identified an endonuclease (EN) domain at the L1 ORF2 N-terminus that is highly conserved among poly(A) retrotransposons and resembles the apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) endonucleases. Purified L1 EN protein (L1 ENp) makes 5'-PO4, 3'-OH nicks in supercoiled plasmids, shows no preference for AP sites, and preferentially cleaves sequences resembling L1 in vivo target sequences. Mutations in conserved amino acid residues of L1 EN abolish its nicking activity and eliminate L1 retrotransposition. We propose that L1 EN cleaves the target site for L1 insertion and primes reverse transcription.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-916
Number of pages12
JournalCell
Volume87
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 29 1996

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Retroelements
Endonucleases
Poly A
Long Interspersed Nucleotide Elements
DNA-(Apurinic or Apyrimidinic Site) Lyase
RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
Open Reading Frames
Reverse Transcription
Transcription
Plasmids
Amino Acids
Mutation
Proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

Human L1 retrotransposon encodes a conserved endonuclease required for retrotransposition. / Feng, Qinghua; Moran, John V.; Kazazian, Haig; Boeke, Jef D.

In: Cell, Vol. 87, No. 5, 29.11.1996, p. 905-916.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Feng, Qinghua ; Moran, John V. ; Kazazian, Haig ; Boeke, Jef D. / Human L1 retrotransposon encodes a conserved endonuclease required for retrotransposition. In: Cell. 1996 ; Vol. 87, No. 5. pp. 905-916.
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