Format of Original
American Society for Microbiology
Molecular and Cellular Biology
Original Item ID
Extensive DNA rearrangement occurs during the development of the somatic macronucleus from the germ line micronucleus in ciliated protozoans. The micronuclear junctions and the macronuclear product of a developmentally regulated DNA rearrangement in Tetrahymena thermophila, Tlr1, have been cloned. The intrachromosomal rearrangement joins sequences that are separated by more than 13 kb in the micronucleus with the elimination of moderately repeated micronucleus-specific DNA sequences. There is a long, 825-bp, inverted repeat near the micronuclear junctions. The inverted repeat contains two different 19-bp tandem repeats. The 19-bp repeats are associated with each other and with DNA rearrangements at seven locations in the micronuclear genome. Southern blot analysis is consistent with the occurrence of the 19-bp repeats within pairs of larger repeated sequences. Another family member was isolated. The 19-mers in that clone are also in close proximity to a rearrangement junction. We propose that the 19-mers define a small family of developmentally regulated DNA rearrangements having elements with long inverted repeats near the junction sites. We discuss the possibility that transposable elements evolve by capture of molecular machinery required for essential cellular functions.