Helitron (biology)

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A helitron is a transposon found in eukaryotes that is thought to replicate by a so-called "rolling-circle" mechanism. This category of transposons was discovered by Vladimir Kapitonov and Jerzy Jurka in 2001.[1] The rolling-circle process begins with a break being made at the terminus of a single strand of the helitron DNA. Transposase then sits at this break and at another break where the helitron targets as a migration site. The strand is then displaced from its original location at the site of the break and attached to the target break, forming a circlular heteroduplex. This heteroduplex is then resolved into a flat piece of DNA via replication. During the rolling-circle process, DNA can be replicated beyond the initial helitron sequence, resulting in the flanking regions of DNA being "captured" by the helitron as it moves to a new location.[2]


  1. ^ Kapitonov, V. V.; Jurka, J. (2001). "Rolling-circle transposons in eukaryotes". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 98 (15): 8714–9. doi:10.1073/pnas.151269298. PMC 37501. PMID 11447285. 
  2. ^ Lisch, Damon (January 2013). "How important are transposons for plant evolution?". Nature Reviews Genetics 14 (1): 49–61, See p. 50. doi:10.1038/nrg3374. PMID 23247435.