Retrotransposon BARE-1: Expression of encoded proteins and formation of virus-like particles in barley cells

Marko Jääskeläinen, Anna Helena Mykkänen, Tiina Arna, Carlos M. Vicient, Annu Suoniemi, Ruslan Kalendar, Harri Savilahti, Alan H. Schulman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Retrotransposons are ubiquitous and major components of plant genomes, and are characteristically retroviral-like in their genomic structure and in the major proteins encoded. Nevertheless, few have been directly demonstrated to be transcribed or reverse transcribed. The BARE-1 retrotransposon family of barley (Hordeum vulgare) is highly prevalent, actively transcribed, and contains well conserved functional regions. Insertion sites for BARE-1 are highly polymorphic in the barley genome. Here we show that BARE-1 is translated and the capsid protein (GAG) and integrase (IN) components of the predicted polyprotein are processed into polypeptides of expected size. Some of the GAG sediments as virus-like particles together with IN and with BARE-1 cDNA. Reverse transcriptase activity is also present in gradient fractions containing BARE-1 translation products. Virus-like particles have also been visualized in fractions containing BARE-1 components. Thus BARE-1 components necessary for carrying out the life cycle of an active retrotransposon appear to be present in vivo, and to assemble. This would suggest that post-translational mechanisms may be at work to prevent rapid genome inflation through unrestricted integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-422
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

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