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BraSto, a Stowaway MITE from Brassica: recently active copies preferentially accumulate in the gene space

Sarilar, Véronique, Marmagne, Anne, Brabant, Philippe, Joets, Johann, Alix, Karine
Plant molecular biology 2011 v.77 no.1-2 pp. 59-75
Brassica, binding sites, expressed sequence tags, gene expression regulation, genes, miniature inverted repeat transposable elements, phylogeny, polymerase chain reaction, transcription (genetics), transcription factors
We characterized a Brassica miniature inverted repeat transposable element (MITE) from the Stowaway superfamily, designated BraSto (Bra ssica Sto waway). BraSto copy number was assessed using real-time quantitative PCR in the two diploid species B. rapa (genome A) and B. oleracea (genome C) and the corresponding allotetraploid species B. napus (genome AC). Phylogenetic relationships among a set of 131 BraSto copies were then analyzed. BraSto appears to have been only moderately amplified in the Brassica genome and was still active recently with marks of proliferation in both diploid Brassica species, which diverged 3.75 million years ago, but also in the allotetraploid species after reuniting of the two differentiated genomes. We characterized insertion sites for low-divergence BraSto copies among the gene space of the B. rapa genome using bioinformatics approaches. For BraSto copies localized nearby or within genes, we observed frequent associations of BraSto with putative promoters and regulatory regions of genes, but exclusion from coding regions. In addition, BraSto was significantly similar to several Brassica expressed sequence tags (ESTs), including stress-induced ESTs. We also demonstrated the enrichment of BraSto sequences in binding sites for transcription factors and other regulatory elements. Our results lead to the question of a role for BraSto in the regulation of gene expression: this putative role, if further confirmed experimentally, would help to obtain a new insight into the significance of MITEs in the functional plant genome.