Molecular characterization of a short interspersed repetitive element from tobacco that exhibits sequence homology to specific tRNAs

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Jul 15;90(14):6562-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.90.14.6562.


We have characterized a family of tRNA-derived short interspersed repetitive elements (SINEs) in the tobacco genome. Members of this family of SINEs, designated TS, have a composite structure and include a region structurally similar to a rabbit tRNA(Lys), a tRNA-unrelated region, and a TTG repeat of variable length at the 3' end. Southern blot hybridization, together with a search of the GenBank data base, showed that various plants belonging to the families Solanaceae and Convolvulaceae contain sequences homologous to the TS family in the introns and flanking regions of many genes, whereas Arabidopsis in the family Cruciferae and several species of monocoytledonous plants do not. The TS family is widely involved in structural and genetic variations in the genomes of many plants that belong to the order Tubiflorae. All of nine sequences identified in a data base search are truncated at their 5' regions and lack the tRNA-related region of the TS family. We characterized the entire sequence of the members of the TS family and found that this family can be categorized as a member of a group of SINEs with a tRNA(Lys)-like structure, as can several animal SINEs. The TS family can be divided into two major subfamilies by analysis of diagnostic positions, and one of the subfamilies is clearly younger than the other. Amplification of many copies of the full sequence of the younger subfamily occurred during the recent evolution of the tobacco lineage. We also discuss mechanisms that could be involved in the generation of SINEs in animals and also in plants.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • Gene Amplification / genetics
  • Gene Library
  • Genes, Plant / genetics
  • Genome
  • Introns / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nicotiana / genetics*
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • RNA, Transfer / genetics*
  • RNA, Transfer, Lys / genetics
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid / genetics
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid / genetics*
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • RNA, Transfer, Lys
  • RNA, Transfer

Associated data

  • GENBANK/M29041
  • GENBANK/X60506
  • GENBANK/X67599