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Mobile Genetic Elements (MGE) play a fundamental role in the dynamics of bacterial genomes and in the capacity of bacterial populations to rapidly adapt to environmental changes. These elements actively participate in horizontal transfer processes. Our objective is to provide an integrative description of mobility of certain MGE groups: their molecular mechanism, their regulation and their impact on genome dynamics.
Our research focuses on “HuH” elements in structuring and shaping bacterial genomes. These elements are fundamentally different from classical transposons and encode Transposases related to Rep proteins (rolling circle replication) and to Relaxases (conjugative transfer). We are studying the single strand transposition and gene capture mechanism adopted by some insertion sequence families. Another research area concerns the role of “domesticated” HuH Transposases in the genome plasticity and in evolution of REP (Repeated Extragenic Palindrome) elements.