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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Sep 25;98(20):11474-8. Epub 2001 Sep 18.

In vivo transposition of Minos, a Drosophila mobile element, in mammalian tissues.

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  • 1Institute for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology-Foundation for Research and Technology, Hellas, P.O. Box 1527, Heraklion 71110, Greece.


Transposable elements have been used widely in the past 20 years for gene transfer and insertional mutagenesis in Drosophila. Transposon-based technology for gene manipulation and genomic analysis currently is being adopted for vertebrates. We tested the ability of Minos, a DNA transposon from Drosophila hydei, to transpose in mouse tissues. Two transgenic mouse lines were crossed, one expressing Minos transposase in lymphocytes under the control of the CD2 promoter/locus control region and another carrying a nonautonomous Minos transposon. Only mice containing both transgenes show excision of the transposon and transposition into new chromosomal sites in thymus and spleen cells. In addition, expression of Minos transposase in embryonic fibroblast cell lines derived from a transposon-carrying transgenic mouse resulted in excision of the transposon. These results are a first step toward a reversible insertional mutagenesis system in the mouse, opening the way to develop powerful technologies for functional genomic analysis in mammals.

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