The epigenetic control of the Athila family of retrotransposons in Arabidopsis

 Abstract

Retrotransposons are major constituents of both plant and animal genomes. In the genome of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, which is known for its small size and low repeat content, the Athila retrotransposon family occupies over 2.7% of the total genome and is a major building block of the centromere. However, the copy number and location of Athila elements fail to tell the complete story, as recent experiments have demonstrated that Athila is not only literally at the center of each chromosome, but figuratively at the center of Arabidopsis epigenetic regulation. The silencing of Athila retrotransposons has come to the forefront of Arabidopsis small RNA regulation, the control of the centromere core, as well as potentially playing a role in speciation. This review explores what studying one of the largest transposable element families in one of the smallest plant genomes can tell us about the epigenetic regulation of the genome.

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Pages
483 - 490
doi
10.4161/epi.5.6.12119
Type
Review
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The epigenetic control of the Athila family of retrotransposons in Arabidopsis