Potential movement of transposable elements through DNA circularization

Tobias Mourier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The generation of circular DNAs is a relatively unrecognized type of genomic structural variation, but recent findings point to a possible role of circular DNAs in the movement of transposable elements. Circularization of genomic DNA is observed across eukaryotic species, in a range of different cell types, and from all parts of the genome. A recent study on circular DNAs in yeast found that transposable element sequence residing in circular structures mostly corresponded to full-length transposable elements. Transposable elements are mobile genetic elements scattered across eukaryotic genomes. Different classes of transposable elements move either through a copy-and-paste or a cut-and-paste. As circular DNA structures may recombine with the genome and re-integrate into a novel genomic locus, transposable elements could move through circularization. In yeast, the predominant type of transposable element is a so-called LTR (long terminal repeats) retrotransposable element that moves through a copy-and-paste mechanism. The observed circularization of this element means it potentially could move through a cut-and-paste mechanism as well. Although further experimental evidence is needed to establish the extent to which movement of transposable elements through DNA circularization takes place, such movement is likely to have a functional impact on the genomic context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-700
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Long terminal repeats
  • Mobile DNA
  • Transposition
  • Yeast
  • eccDNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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