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Journal Article

A virophage at the origin of large DNA transposons

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Fischer,  Matthias G.
Department of Biomolecular Mechanisms, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Fischer, M. G., & Suttle, C. A. (2011). A virophage at the origin of large DNA transposons. Science, 332(6026), 231-234. doi:10.1126/science.1199412.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-4938-6
Abstract
DNA transposons are mobile genetic elements that have shaped the genomes of eukaryotes for millions of years, yet their origins remain obscure. We discovered a virophage that, on the basis of genetic homology, likely represents an evolutionary link between double-stranded DNA viruses and Maverick/Polinton eukaryotic DNA transposons. The Mavirus virophage parasitizes the giant Cafeteria roenbergensis virus and encodes 20 predicted proteins, including a retroviral integrase and a protein-primed DNA polymerase B. On the basis of our data, we conclude that Maverick/Polinton transposons may have originated from ancient relatives of Mavirus, and thereby influenced the evolution of eukaryotic genomes, although we cannot rule out alternative evolutionary scenarios.