Identification of a recently active Prunus-specific non-autonomous Mutator element with considerable genome shaping force

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Summary

Miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs) are known to contribute to the evolution of plants, but only limited information is available for MITEs in the Prunus genome. We identified a MITE that has been named Falling Stones, FaSt. All structural features (349-bp size, 82-bp terminal inverted repeats and 9-bp target site duplications) are consistent with this MITE being a putative member of the Mutator transposase superfamily. FaSt showed a preferential accumulation in the short AT-rich segments of the euchromatin region of the peach genome. DNA sequencing and pollination experiments have been performed to confirm that the nested insertion of FaSt into the S-haplotype-specific F-box gene of apricot resulted in the breakdown of self-incompatibility (SI). A bioinformatics-based survey of the known Rosaceae and other genomes and a newly designed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay verified the Prunoideae-specific occurrence of FaSt elements. Phylogenetic analysis suggested a recent activity of FaSt in the Prunus genome. The occurrence of a nested insertion in the apricot genome further supports the recent activity of FaSt in response to abiotic stress conditions. This study reports on a presumably active non-autonomous Mutator element in Prunus that exhibits a major indirect genome shaping force through inducing loss-of-function mutation in the SI locus.

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