An actively retrotransposing, novel subfamily of mouse L1 elements

Thierry P. Naas, Ralph J. Deberardinis, John V. Moran, Eric M. Ostertag, Stephen F. Kingsmore, Michael F. Seldin, Yoshihide Hayashizaki, Sandra L. Martin, Haig H. Kazazian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


Retrotransposition of LINEs and other retroelements increases repetition in mammalian genomes and can cause deleterious mutations. Recent insertions of two full-length L1s, L1(spa) and L1(Orl), caused the disease phenotypes of the spastic and Orleans reeler mice respectively. Here we show that these two recently retrotransposed L1s are nearly identical in sequence, have two open reading frames and belong to a novel subfamily related to the ancient F subfamily. We have named this new subfamily T(F) (for transposable) and show that many full-length members of this family are present in the mouse genome. The T(F) 5' untranslated region has promoter activity, and T(F)-type RNA is abundant in cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein particles, which are likely intermediates in retrotransposition. Both L1(spa) and L1(Orl) have reverse transcriptase activity in a yeast-based assay and retrotranspose at high frequency in cultured cells. Together, our data indicate that the T(F) subfamily of L1s contains a major class of mobile elements that is expanding in the mouse genome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)590-597
Number of pages8
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 1998


  • L1
  • LINEs
  • Pseudogene
  • Retrotransposition
  • Reverse transcriptase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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