A single-copy IS5-like transposon in the genome of a bdelloid rotifer. Academic Article uri icon


  • In the course of sequencing telomeric chromosomal regions of the bdelloid rotifer Adineta vaga, we encountered an unusual DNA transposon. Unlike other bdelloid and, more generally, eukaryotic transposable elements (TEs), it exhibits similarity to prokaryotic insertion sequences (ISs). Phylogenetic analysis indicates that this transposon, named IS5_Av, is related to the ISL2 group of the IS5 family of bacterial IS elements. Despite the apparent intactness of the single open reading frame coding for a DDE transposase and the perfect identity of its 213-bp terminal inverted repeats (TIRs), the element is present in only one copy per diploid genome. It does not exhibit any detectable levels of transcription, so that its transposase gene appears to be silent in the bdelloid host. Although horizontal transfers of TEs between kingdoms are not known to happen in nature, it appears likely that IS5_Av underwent integration into the A. vaga genome relatively recently, but was not successful in adapting to the new host and failed to increase in copy number. Alternatively, it might be the only known member of a novel eukaryotic DNA TE superfamily which is so rare that its other members, if any, have not yet been identified in eukaryotic genomes sequenced to date.

publication date

  • August 2009