Pogo-like transposases have been repeatedly domesticated into CENP-B-related proteins

Genome Biol Evol. 2014 Jul 24;6(8):2008-16. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evu153.


The centromere is a chromatin region that is required for accurate inheritance of eukaryotic chromosomes during cell divisions. Among the different centromere-associated proteins (CENP) identified, CENP-B has been independently domesticated from a pogo-like transposase twice: Once in mammals and once in fission yeast. Recently, a third independent domestication restricted to holocentric lepidoptera has been described. In this work, we take advantage of the high-quality genome sequence and the wealth of functional information available for Drosophila melanogaster to further investigate the possibility of additional independent domestications of pogo-like transposases into host CENP-B related proteins. Our results showed that CENP-B related genes are not restricted to holocentric insects. Furthermore, we showed that at least three independent domestications of pogo-like transposases have occurred in metazoans. Our results highlight the importance of transposable elements as raw material for the recurrent evolution of important cellular functions.

Keywords: Drosophila; exaptation; functional domain; holocentric chromosomes; pogo.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Centromere Protein B / chemistry
  • Centromere Protein B / genetics*
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins / chemistry
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / chemistry
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genes, Insect
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Transposases / chemistry
  • Transposases / genetics*


  • Centromere Protein B
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Transposases
  • pogo-T protein, Drosophila