Coordinately Co-opted Multiple Transposable Elements Constitute an Enhancer for wnt5a Expression in the Mammalian Secondary Palate
Access this Article
Acquisition of cis-regulatory elements is a major driving force of evolution, and there are several examples of developmental enhancers derived from transposable elements (TEs). However, it remains unclear whether one enhancer element could have been produced via cooperation among multiple, yet distinct, TEs during evolution. Here we show that an evolutionarily conserved genomic region named AS3_9 comprises three TEs (AmnSINE1, X6b_DNA and MER117), inserted side-by-side, and functions as a distal enhancer for wnt5a expression during morphogenesis of the mammalian secondary palate. Functional analysis of each TE revealed step-by-step retroposition/transposition and co-option together with acquisition of a binding site for Msx1 for its full enhancer function during mammalian evolution. The present study provides a new perspective suggesting that a huge variety of TEs, in combination, could have accelerated the diversity of cis-regulatory elements involved in morphological evolution.
- PLOS Genetics
PLOS Genetics 12(10), 2016-10-14
Public Library of Science