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EMBO J. 1987 Sep;6(9):2849-53.

Construction of hybrid Tn501/Tn21 transposases in vivo: identification of a region of transposase conferring specificity of recognition of the 38-bp terminal inverted repeats.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Bristol, UK.


In order to study the transposase enzymes of Class II prokaryotic transposable elements, we have constructed genes encoding hybrid transposase proteins. This was done by recombination in vivo between the tnpA genes of transposons Tn501 and Tn21. These hybrid genes can complement in trans a transposition-defective mutant of Tn501. The structures of the products of this complementation indicate whether the specificity of the hybrid transposase in recognising the 38 bp terminal inverted repeats is that of Tn501 or that of Tn21. The determinant of this specificity is in the N-terminal region of the transposase protein, between amino acids 28 and 216. The predicted amino acid sequences so far determined of transposases from the Class II family reveal an area of homology in this region.

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