The human long interspersed element-1 retrotransposon: An emerging biomarker of Neoplasia

Daniel Ardeljan, Martin S. Taylor, David T. Ting, Kathleen H. Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: A large portion of intronic and intergenic space in our genome consists of repeated sequences. One of the most prevalent is the long interspersed element-1 (LINE-1, L1) mobile DNA. LINE-1 is rightly receiving increasing interest as a cancer biomarker. CONTENT: Intact LINE-1 elements are self-propagating. They code for RNA and proteins that function to make more copies of the genomic element. Our current understanding is that this process is repressed in most normal cells, but that LINE-1 expression is a hallmark of many types of malignancy. Here, we will consider features of cancer cells when cellular defense mechanisms repressing LINE-1 go awry. We will review evidence that genomic LINE-1 methylation, LINE-1-encoded RNAs, and LINE-1 ORF1p (open reading frame 1 protein) may be useful in cancer diagnosis. SUMMARY: The repetitive and variable nature of LINE-1 DNA sequences poses unique challenges to studying them, but recent advances in reagents and next generation sequencing present opportunities to characterize LINE-1 expression and activity in cancers and to identify clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)816-822
Number of pages7
JournalClinical chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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