Homologues of bacterial TnpB_IS605 are widespread in diverse eukaryotic transposable elements

Mob DNA. 2013 Apr 1;4(1):12. doi: 10.1186/1759-8753-4-12.


Background: Bacterial insertion sequences (IS) of IS200/IS605 and IS607 family often encode a transposase (TnpA) and a protein of unknown function, TnpB.

Results: Here we report two groups of TnpB-like proteins (Fanzor1 and Fanzor2) that are widespread in diverse eukaryotic transposable elements (TEs), and in large double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses infecting eukaryotes. Fanzor and TnpB proteins share the same conserved amino acid motif in their C-terminal half regions: D-X(125, 275)-[TS]-[TS]-X-X-[C4 zinc finger]-X(5,50)-RD, but are highly variable in their N-terminal regions. Fanzor1 proteins are frequently captured by DNA transposons from different superfamilies including Helitron, Mariner, IS4-like, Sola and MuDr. In contrast, Fanzor2 proteins appear only in some IS607-type elements. We also analyze a new Helitron2 group from the Helitron superfamily, which contains elements with hairpin structures on both ends. Non-autonomous Helitron2 elements (CRe-1, 2, 3) in the genome of green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii are flanked by target site duplications (TSDs) of variable length (approximately 7 to 19 bp).

Conclusions: The phylogeny and distribution of the TnpB/Fanzor proteins indicate that they may be disseminated among eukaryotic species by viruses. We hypothesize that TnpB/Fanzor proteins may act as methyltransferases.