Kinetic modeling of the self-regulatory mechanisms of transposable elements (TEs) involving interactions of one or a few gene products makes predictions that are often at odds with observed results. In particular, explanations of TE autorepression at high copy number that invoke a decrease in number of active monomers through dimerization, amyloidization, and protein-mRNA binding to create an inactive state are not supported by analysis of the corresponding kinetic models. This is also true for similar mRNA-mRNA binding models. Self-repression in mariner as well as other TEs can, however, be explained by a host-independent model in which inactive dimers compete with monomers for TE binding sites at the ends of the element. This model would also allow heterodimer poisoning to down-regulate transposition in the presence of divergent nonautonomous elements, since nondivergent monomers would be required at both TE ends for transposition.
Townsend, J PHartl, D LengResearch Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.Netherlands2001/04/11 10:00Genetica. 2000;108(3):229-37.