Curiosities of REPINs and RAYTs

Bertels, Frederic; Rainey, Paul B.
November 2011
Mobile Genetic Elements (2159-2543);Nov/Dec2011, Vol. 1 Issue 4, p262
Academic Journal
Repetitive extragenic palindromic (REP) sequences are a ubiquitous feature of bacterial genomes. Recent work shows that REPs are remnants of a larger mobile genetic element termed a REPIN. REPINs consists of two REP sequences in inverted orientation separated by a spacer region and are thought to be non-autonomous mobile genetic elements that exploit the transposase encoded by REP-Associated tYrosine Transposases (RAYTs). Complimentarity between the two ends of the REPIN suggests that the element forms hairpin structures in single stranded DNA or RNA. In addition to REPINs, other more complex arrangements of REPs have been identified in bacterial genomes, including the genome of the model organism Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25. Here, we summarize existing knowledge and present new data concerning REPIN diversity. We also consider factors affecting the evolution of REPIN diversity, the ease with which REPINs might be co-opted by host genomes and the consequences of REPIN activity for the structure of bacterial genomes.


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