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ID elements comprise a rodent SINE (short Interspersed DNA repetitive element) family that has amplified by retroposition of a few master genes. In order to understand the Important factors of SINE amplification, we investigated the transcription of rat ID elements. Three different size classes of ID transcripts, BC1, BC2 and T3, have been detected In various rat tissues, including brain and testes. We have analysed the nucleotlde sequences of testes- and brain-derived ID transcripts isolated by size-fractlonation, C-talling and RACE. Nucleotide sequence variation of testes ID transcripts demonstrated derivation from different loci. However, the transcripts represent a preferred set of ID elements that closely match the subfamily consensus sequences. The small ID transcripts, T3, are not comprised of primary transcripts, but are instead processed polyA- transcripts generated from many different loci. These truncated transcripts would be expected to be retroposition-incompetent forms. Therefore, the amplification of ID elements is likely to be regulated at multiple steps of retroposition, which Include transcription and processing. Although brain ID transcripts showed a similar pattern, with the addition of very high levels of transcription from the BC1 locus, we also found evidence that a single locus dominated the production of brain BC2 RNA species. BC1 RNA is highly stable In both germ line and brain cells, based on the low level of detection of the processing product, T3. This stability of BC1 RNA might have been a contributing factor in its role as a master gene for ID amplification. © 1995 Oxford University Press.

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Nucleic Acids Research

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