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APE-type non-LTR retrotransposons of multicellular organisms encode virus-like 2A oligopeptide sequences, which mediate translational recoding during protein synthesis

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Valerie Marie Nathalie Odon, Garry Alec Luke, Claire Roulston, Pablo De Felipe, Lin Ruan, Helena Escuin, Jeremy Brown, Martin Denis Ryan, Andriy Sukhodub

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2A oligopeptide sequences (“2As”) mediate a cotranslational recoding event termed “ribosome skipping.” Previously we demonstrated the activity of 2As (and “2A-like sequences”) within a wide range of animal RNA virus genomes and non-long terminal repeat retrotransposons (non-LTRs) in the genomes of the unicellular organisms Trypanosoma brucei (Ingi) and T. cruzi (L1Tc). Here, we report the presence of 2A-like sequences in the genomes of a wide range of multicellular organisms and, as in the trypanosome genomes, within non-LTR retrotransposons (non-LTRs)—clustering in the Rex1, Crack, L2, L2A, and CR1 clades, in addition to Ingi. These 2A-like sequences were tested for translational recoding activity, and highly active sequences were found within the Rex1, L2, CR1, and Ingi clades. The presence of 2A-like sequences within non-LTRs may not only represent a method of controlling protein biogenesis but also shows some correlation with such apurinic/apyrimidinic DNA endonuclease-type non-LTRs encoding one, rather than two, open reading frames (ORFs). Interestingly, such non-LTRs cluster with closely related elements lacking 2A-like recoding elements but retaining ORF1. Taken together, these observations suggest that acquisition of 2A-like translational recoding sequences may have played a role in the evolution of these elements.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1955-1965
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Issue number8
Early online date31 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

    Research areas

  • Retrotransposon, 2A-like sequences, Translational recoding, APE-type non-LTR

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