Genomics Inform.  2004 Jun;2(2):86-91.

High Correlation between Alu Elements and the Conversion of 3' UTR of mRNAs Processed Pseudogenes

  • 1Department of BioSystems, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, 373-1 Guseong dong, Yuseong gu, Daejeon 305-701, Korea.


Even though it represents 6 13% of human genomic DNA, Alu sequences are rarely found in coding regions. When in exon region, over 80 % of them are found in 3' untranslated region (UTR). Pseudogenes are an important component of human genome. Their functions are not clearly known and the mechanism of how they are generated is still debatable. Both the Alu and Pseudogenes are important research problems in molecular biology. mRNA is thought to be a prime source of pseudogene and active research is going on its molecular mechanism. We report, for the first time, that mRNAs containing Alu repeats at 3' UTR has a significantly high correlation with processed pseudogenes, suggesting a possibility that Alu containing mRNAs have a high tendency to become processed pseudogenes. It is known that about 10% of all human genes have been transposed. Transposed genes at 3' UTR without Alu repeat have about two processed pseudogenes per gene on average while we found with statistical significance that a transposed gene with Alu had over three processed Pseudogenes on average. Therefore, we propose Alu repeats as a new and important factor in the generation of pseudogenes.


Alu; LINE; pseudogene; processed pseudogene; Alu and pseudogenes
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