Transposable elements constitute one of the main components of eukaryotic genomes. In vertebrates, they differ in content, typology, and family diversity and played a crucial role in the evolution of this taxon. However, due to their transposition ability, TEs can be responsible for genome instability, and thus silencing mechanisms were evolved to allow the coexistence between TEs and eukaryotic host-coding genes. Several papers are highlighting in TEs the presence of regulatory elements involved in regulating nearby genes in a tissue-specific fashion. This suggests that TEs are not sequenced merely to silence; rather, they can be domesticated for the regulation of host-coding gene expression, permitting species adaptation and resilience as well as ensuring human health. This review presents the main silencing mechanisms acting in vertebrates and the importance of exploiting these mechanisms for TE control to rewire gene expression networks, challenging the general view of TEs as threatening elements.
Transposable Elements: Epigenetic Silencing Mechanisms or Modulating Tools for Vertebrate Adaptations? Two Sides of the Same Coin / Carotti, Elisa; Carducci, Federica; Barucca, Marco; Canapa, Adriana; Biscotti, Maria Assunta. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR SCIENCES. - ISSN 1422-0067. - (2023).