Sedat Yiğit, Oytun Erbaş

Institute of Experimental Medicine, Gebze-Kocaeli, Türkiye

Keywords: Aging, alu elements, piRNA, PIWI protein, rasiRNA, retrotransposon.


Retrotransposons convert ribonucleic acid (RNA) into deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) through the reverse transcription process using an RNA transposition intermediate. They are a type of genetic component that copy and paste themselves into different genomic locations. By reverse transcription and insertion into the genome (Class I: Retrotransposons), or through direct excision and movement of the element (Class II transposable elements: DNA transposons). When the studies on retrotransposons were examined, it was predicted that retrotransposons affect the aging process. They trigger inflammation. DNA damage causes inflammation, while inflammations cause DNA damage. In addition to aging, retrotransposons have a close relationship with diseases. Understanding the relationship between retrotransposon and diseases requires knowledge of long-interspersed nuclear elements, short-interspersed nuclear elements, Alu elements, and SVA elements. Silencing retrotransposons linked to a variety of diseases, such as cancer and brain disorders, can improve our health and lifespan. The secret to a longer-lasting and healthier life may lie in retrotransposons. P-element-induced wimpy testis (PIWI)-interacting RNA (piRNA) is the largest class of small noncoding RNA molecules expressed in animal cells. piRNA interacts with PIWI proteins to form RNA-protein complexes. These complexes are linked to epigenetic and post-transcriptional gene silencing of retrotransposons and other genetic elements in germline cells, in particular, spermatogenesis. In this review, the impacts of retrotransposons on aging and related diseases were discussed.

Cite this article as: Yiğit S, Erbaş O. The effect of retrotransposons on aging and diseases. D J Tx Sci 2022;7(1-2):14-21.

Data Sharing Statement:
The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Author Contributions

All authors contributed equally to the article.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.

Financial Disclosure

The authors received no financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article.