Cycling to Maintain and Improve Fitness: Line-1 Modes of Nuclear Entrance and Retrotransposition

Paolo Mita, Jef D. Boeke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The LINE-1/L1 retrotransposon is a transposable element still active in the human genome. Most retrotransposons in the genome are inactive or repressed by several host mechanisms. In specific contexts, active L1 retrotransposons may evade repression and copy themselves into new genomic loci. Despite a general knowledge of the L1 life cycle, little was known about the dynamics of L1 proteins and function during the different stages of the host cell cycle. Our work highlighted a well-orchestrated localization of L1 proteins and mRNA that take advantage of mitotic nuclear membrane breakdown. Once in the nucleus, L1 ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) are able to retrotranspose during the S phase when L1 retrotransposition peaks. Our conclusions highlight previously unappreciated features of the L1 life cycle, such as the differences between cytoplasmic and nuclear RNPs and the cycling of L1 ORF1 protein and L1 activity during progression through the cell cycle. These new observations are discussed here in light of the evolutionary arms race between L1 retrotransposons and the host cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-494
Number of pages4
JournalSLAS Discovery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • LINE-1
  • cell cycle
  • evolution
  • retrotransposons
  • transposons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine


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