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Mol Microbiol. 1999 Jul;33(2):223-34.

Intramolecular transposition of insertion sequence IS91 results in second-site simple insertions.

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Departamento de BiologĂ­a Molecular, Universidad de Cantabria, C/Herrera Oria s/n, 39011 Santander, Spain.


A series of plasmids carrying an IRL-kan-IRR transposable cassette, in which IRL and IRR are the left- and right-terminal sequences of IS91, have been constructed. These cassettes could be complemented for transposition with similar efficiency when IS91 transposase was provided either in cis or in trans. A total of 87% of IS91 transposition products were simple insertions of the element, while the remaining 13% were plasmid fusions and co-integrates. When transposase expression was induced from an upstream lac promoter, transposition frequency increased approximately 100-fold. An open reading frame (ORF) present upstream of the transposase gene, ORF121, could be involved in target selection, as mutations affecting this ORF were altered in their insertion specificity. Intramolecular rearrangements were analysed by looking at transposition events disrupting a chloramphenicol resistance gene (cat ) located outside the transposable cassette. Plasmid instability resulting from insertion of an extra copy of IRL-kan-IRR within the cat gene was observed; transposition products contained a second copy of the cassette inserted either as a direct or as an inverted repeat. No deletion or inversion of the intervening DNA was observed. These results could be explained as a consequence of intramolecular transposition of IS91 according to a model of rolling-circle transposition.

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