Many human genes are transcribed from the antisense promoter of L1 retrotransposon

Genomics. 2002 May;79(5):628-34. doi: 10.1006/geno.2002.6758.


Human L1 retrotransposon has two transcription-regulatory regions: an internal or sense promoter driving transcription of the full-length L1, and an antisense promoter (ASP) driving transcription in the opposite direction into adjacent cellular sequences yielding chimeric transcripts. Both promoters are located in the 5'-untranslated region (5'-UTR) of L1. Chimeric transcripts derived from the L1 ASP are highly represented in expressed-sequence tag (EST) databases. Using a bioinformatics approach, we have characterized 10 chimeric ESTs (cESTs) derived from the EST division of GenBank. These cESTs contained 3' regions similar or identical to known cellular mRNA sequences. They were accurately spliced and preferentially expressed in tumor cell lines. Analysis of the hundreds of cESTs suggests that the L1 ASP-driven transcription is a common phenomenon not only for tumor cells but also for normal ones and may involve transcriptional interference or epigenetic control of different cellular genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5' Flanking Region / genetics
  • Alternative Splicing
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Antisense / genetics*
  • Databases, Nucleic Acid
  • Expressed Sequence Tags
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes / genetics
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics*
  • Retroelements / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics*


  • DNA, Antisense
  • Retroelements