Families of short interspersed elements in the genome of the oomycete plant pathogen, Phytophthora infestans

Stephen C. Whisson, Anna O. Avrova, Olga Lavrova, Leighton Pritchard

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14 Citations (Scopus)


The first known families of tRNA-related short interspersed elements (SINEs) in the oomycetes were identified by exploiting the genomic DNA sequence resources for the potato late blight pathogen, Phytophthora infestans. Fifteen families of tRNA-related SINEs, as well as predicted tRNAs, and other possible RNA polymerase III-transcribed sequences were identified. The size of individual elements ranges from 101 to 392 bp, representing sequences present from low (1) to highly abundant (over 2000) copy number in the P. infestans genome, based on quantitative PCR analysis. Putative short direct repeat sequences (6-14 bp) flanking the elements were also identified for eight of the SINEs. Predicted SINEs were named in a series prefixed infSINE (for infestans-SINE). Two SINEs were apparently present as multimers of tRNA-related units; four copies of a related unit for infSINEr, and two unrelated units for infSINEz. Two SINEs, infSINEh and infSINEi, were typically located within 400 bp of each other. These were also the only two elements identified as being actively transcribed in the mycelial stage of P. infestans by RT-PCR. It is possible that infSINEh and infSINEi represent active retrotransposons in P. infestans. Based on the quantitative PCR estimates of copy number for all of the elements identified, tRNA-related SINEs were estimated to comprise 0.3% of the 250 Mb P. infestans genome. InfSINE-related sequences were found to occur in species throughout the genus Phytophthora. However, seven elements were shown to be exclusive to P. infestans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-365
Number of pages15
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2005


  • late blight
  • oomycete
  • phytophthora infestans
  • retrotransposon
  • SINE


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