DAO 124:165-168 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03113

NOTE
Evidence of horizontal transmission of the cancer-associated Steamer retrotransposon among ecological cohort bivalve species

Ashley N. Paynter1, Michael J. Metzger2, Jocelyn A. Sessa3, Mark E. Siddall1,*

1Sackler Institute of Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York 10024, USA
2Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA
3Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York 10024, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Bivalve specimens from legacy frozen tissue collections, and others freshly obtained, were surveyed for the presence of the Steamer long terminal repeat (LTR)-retrotransposon associated with disseminated hemic neoplasia of the soft-shelled clam Mya areneria. Of 22 species investigated using primers for the pol region, only Atlantic M. arenaria, Atlantic and North Sea razor clams Ensis directus, and Baltic clams Macoma balthica from the North Sea were found to possess copies of Steamer in their genomes. Notably, close relatives like Mya truncata and Siliqua patula did not exhibit evidence of Steamer. Amplified Steamer sequences were uniformly identical in all M. areneria specimens, and were highly variable across specimens of E. directus. Variation in the latter included nucleotide polymorphisms among and within individuals as well as length variation in 2 specimens corresponding to the deletion of a predicted stable hairpin structure. Results implicate Atlantic razor clams as the proximal source for horizontal transmission of Steamer among ecologically similar yet markedly distantly related bivalves. The consequences of cross-species transmission of the Steamer retrotransposon are unknown, and the finding of Steamer in 3 bivalve species suggests that further spread is possible.


KEY WORDS: Disseminated neoplasia · Hemic neoplasia · Retrotransposon · Steamer · Bivalvia · Cancer


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Cite this article as: Paynter AN, Metzger MJ, Sessa JA, Siddall ME (2017) Evidence of horizontal transmission of the cancer-associated Steamer retrotransposon among ecological cohort bivalve species. Dis Aquat Org 124:165-168. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03113

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