Open Access Research article

Tandemly repeated DNA families in the mouse genome

Aleksey S Komissarov1, Ekaterina V Gavrilova123, Sergey Ju Demin1, Alexander M Ishov3 and Olga I Podgornaya12*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Cytology RAS, 4 Tikhoretsky avenue, 194064, St. Petersburg, Russia

2 Faculty of Biology and Soil Sciences, St. Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya nab. 7/9, St. Petersburg 199034, Russia

3 Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Florida College of Medicine, 1376 Mowry, Gainesville FL 32610-3633, USA

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BMC Genomics 2011, 12:531  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-531

Published: 28 October 2011



Functional and morphological studies of tandem DNA repeats, that combine high portion of most genomes, are mostly limited due to the incomplete characterization of these genome elements. We report here a genome wide analysis of the large tandem repeats (TR) found in the mouse genome assemblies.


Using a bioinformatics approach, we identified large TR with array size more than 3 kb in two mouse whole genome shotgun (WGS) assemblies. Large TR were classified based on sequence similarity, chromosome position, monomer length, array variability, and GC content; we identified four superfamilies, eight families, and 62 subfamilies - including 60 not previously described. 1) The superfamily of centromeric minor satellite is only found in the unassembled part of the reference genome. 2) The pericentromeric major satellite is the most abundant superfamily and reveals high order repeat structure. 3) Transposable elements related superfamily contains two families. 4) The superfamily of heterogeneous tandem repeats includes four families. One family is found only in the WGS, while two families represent tandem repeats with either single or multi locus location. Despite multi locus location, TRPC-21A-MM is placed into a separated family due to its abundance, strictly pericentromeric location, and resemblance to big human satellites.

To confirm our data, we next performed in situ hybridization with three repeats from distinct families. TRPC-21A-MM probe hybridized to chromosomes 3 and 17, multi locus TR-22A-MM probe hybridized to ten chromosomes, and single locus TR-54B-MM probe hybridized with the long loops that emerge from chromosome ends. In addition to in silico predicted several extra-chromosomes were positive for TR by in situ analysis, potentially indicating inaccurate genome assembly of the heterochromatic genome regions.


Chromosome-specific TR had been predicted for mouse but no reliable cytogenetic probes were available before. We report new analysis that identified in silico and confirmed in situ 3/17 chromosome-specific probe TRPC-21-MM. Thus, the new classification had proven to be useful tool for continuation of genome study, while annotated TR can be the valuable source of cytogenetic probes for chromosome recognition.