Independent integration of rodent identifier (ID) elements into orthologous sites of some RT6 alleles of Rattus norvegicus and Rattus rattus

Stefan Rothenburg, Maike Eiben, Friedrich Koch-Nolte, Friedrich Haag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The two alleles of the rat T-cell differentiation alloantigen RT6 are highly divergent and their expression is distinctively regulated. While the majority of T cells of RT6a/RT6b heterozygous laboratory rats (Rattus norvegicus) expresses both alleles, a subpopulation expresses only RT6b. To identify cis-regulatory elements that potentially control monoallelic expression, we compared the sequences of both alleles. A striking difference is the presence or absence of a rodent identifier (ID) sequence in intron 7. All investigated inbred RT6a rat strains (n = 7) had this integration, while it was absent in all investigated RT6b rats (n = 9). An ID element was also identified at precisely the same integration site in one RT6 allele of the closely related species Rattus rattus. The ID elements of both species showed nucleotide substitutions characteristic of different subfamilies, and their flanking repeats differed in length, indicating that two independent integration events had occurred into the same site adjacent to a mammalianwide interspersed repeat. Analysis of the surrounding sequences did not disclose any motifs to explain preferential integration into one allele. Our data indicate that the RT6 alleles diverged about 1 myr ago and that the ID element integrated into the RT6a locus soon after this. We have previously shown that DNA methylation plays an important role in regulating monoallelic RT6 expression. The possibility that the ID element in the RT6a allele interferes with the required demethylation process and thus accounts for monoallelic expression is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-259
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA methylation
  • ID element
  • MIR
  • Rattus
  • Retroposition
  • Rodent identifier
  • RT6
  • SINEs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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