A novel class of SINE elements derived from 5S rRNA

Mol Biol Evol. 2003 May;20(5):694-702. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msg075. Epub 2003 Apr 2.


Eukaryotic genomes are colonized by different retroposons, including short interspersed repetitive elements (SINEs). All currently known SINEs are derived from tRNA and 7SL RNA genes and exploit their type 2 internal pol III promoters. We report here a novel class of SINE elements, called SINE3, derived from 5S rRNA. SINE3s are transcribed from the type 1 internal pol III promoter. Approximately 10,000 copies of SINE3 elements are present in the zebrafish genome, they constitute approximately 0.4% of the genomic DNA. Some elements are as little as 1% diverged from each other, indicating that the retrotransposition of SINE3 in zebrafish is an ongoing process. The 3'-tail of SINE3 is significantly similar to that of CR1-like non-LTR retrotransposons, represented by numerous subfamilies in the zebrafish genome. Analogously to CR1-like elements, SINE3 copies are not flanked by target site duplications, and their 3' termini are composed of (ACATT)n and (ATT)n microsatellites, specific for different subfamilies of SINE3. Given the common structural features, it is highly likely that the enzymatic machinery encoded by CR1-like elements powers proliferation of SINE3.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA Polymerase III / genetics
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics
  • Databases, Nucleic Acid
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 5S / genetics*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Short Interspersed Nucleotide Elements / genetics*
  • Zebrafish / genetics*


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 5S
  • DNA Polymerase III