Restriction Enzyme Based Enriched L1Hs Sequencing (REBELseq): A Scalable Technique for Detection of Ta Subfamily L1Hs in the Human Genome

G3 (Bethesda). 2020 May 4;10(5):1647-1655. doi: 10.1534/g3.119.400613.


Long interspersed element-1 retrotransposons (LINE-1 or L1) are ∼6 kb mobile DNA elements implicated in the origins of many Mendelian and complex diseases. The actively retrotransposing L1s are mostly limited to the L1 human specific (L1Hs) transcriptional active (Ta) subfamily. In this manuscript, we present REBELseq as a method for the construction of Ta subfamily L1Hs-enriched next-generation sequencing libraries and bioinformatic identification. REBELseq was performed on DNA isolated from NeuN+ neuronal nuclei from postmortem brain samples of 177 individuals and empirically-driven bioinformatic and experimental cutoffs were established. Putative L1Hs insertions passing bioinformatics cutoffs were experimentally validated. REBELseq reliably identified both known and novel Ta subfamily L1Hs insertions distributed throughout the genome. Differences in the proportion of individuals possessing a given reference or non-reference retrotransposon insertion were identified. We conclude that REBELseq is an unbiased, whole genome approach to the amplification and detection of Ta subfamily L1Hs retrotransposons.

Keywords: L1; L1Hs; REBELseq; Retrotransposons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • Genome, Human*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Long Interspersed Nucleotide Elements*
  • Retroelements / genetics


  • Retroelements
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes