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UniProt release 2013_06

Published May 29, 2013


Back to the wild

Nearly half of our genome consists of mobile elements and their recognizable remnants. These elements are thought to have shaped both our genes and our entire genome, driving genome evolution. However, mobile elements can undergo ‘molecular domestication’, whereby the transposon genes are incorporated into cellular gene expression programs, but are no longer mobile. They can also evolve cellular DNA recombination functions, such as the V(D)J antigen receptor-recombination system. The human genome contains some 50 genes that were derived from transposable elements or transposons, and many are now integral components of cellular gene expression programs.

Human THAP9 is one such transposon-derived gene. It is homologous to Drosophila P element DNA transposase. Both human and Drosophila proteins show a typical site-specific DNA-binding Zn finger domain. Human THAP9 is a single-copy gene and does not contain any terminal inverted repeats or target-site duplications, indicating that it constitutes a bona fide domesticated stationary sequence. It thus came as a surprise that this gene has nevertheless retained the catalytic activity to mobilize P transposable elements in Drosophila and human cells. The physiological relevance of this observation remains elusive, but what is clear is that domesticated transposons may have retained enough “wild” properties to keep our genome on the move.

The human THAP9 entry has been updated accordingly in UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot.

UniProtKB news

Cross-references to SignaLink

Cross-references have been added to SignaLink, an integrated resource to analyze signaling pathway proteins, cross-talks, transcription factors, miRNAs and regulatory enzymes.

SignaLink is available at

The format of the explicit links in the flat file is:

Resource abbreviation SignaLink
Resource identifier UniProtKB accession number
Example Q24306:
DR   SignaLink; Q24306; -.

Show all the entries having a cross-reference to SignaLink.

Removal of the cross-reference to HSSP

Cross-references to HSSP have been removed.

Changes to the controlled vocabulary of human diseases

New diseases: Modified diseases: Deleted disease:
  • Ichthyosis, lamellar, 1