Short interspersed nuclear element (SINE) sequences in the genome of the human pathogenic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus Af293.
Coutts, Robert H.A.
Novel families of short interspersed nuclear element (SINE) sequences in the human pathogenic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, clinical isolate Af293, were identified and categorised into tRNA-related and 5S rRNA-related SINEs. Eight predicted tRNA-related SINE families originating from different tRNAs, and nominated as AfuSINE2 sequences, contained target site duplications of short direct repeat sequences (4-14 bp) flanking the elements, an extended tRNA-unrelated region and typical features of RNA polymerase III promoter sequences. The elements ranged in size from 140-493 bp and were present in low copy number in the genome and five out of eight were actively transcribed. One putative tRNAArg-derived sequence, AfuSINE2-1a possessed a unique feature of repeated trinucleotide ACT residues at its 3'-terminus. This element was similar in sequence to the I-4_AO element found in A. oryzae and an I-1_AF long nuclear interspersed element-like sequence identified in A. fumigatus Af293. Families of 5S rRNA-related SINE sequences, nominated as AfuSINE3, were also identified and their 5'-5S rRNA-related regions show 50-65% and 60-75% similarity to respectively A. fumigatus 5S rRNAs and SINE3-1_AO found in A. oryzae. A. fumigatus Af293 contains five copies of AfuSINE3 sequences ranging in size from 259-343 bp and two out of five AfuSINE3 sequences were actively transcribed. Investigations on AfuSINE distribution in the fungal genome revealed that the elements are enriched in pericentromeric and subtelomeric regions and inserted within gene-rich regions. We also demonstrated that some, but not all, AfuSINE sequences are targeted by host RNA silencing mechanisms. Finally, we demonstrated that infection of the fungus with mycoviruses had no apparent effects on SINE activity.