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Insect Mol Biol. 1999 Aug;8(3):359-68.

Transposable element interactions in insects: crossmobilization of hobo and Hermes.

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Center for Agricultural Biotechnology, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, College Park, MD 20742-4450, USA.


There are four non-drosophilid insect gene vector systems available that have been constructed from the short inverted repeat-type transposable elements Minos, piggyBac, mariner and Hermes. These elements (with the possible exception of piggyBac) are members of transposable element families that appear to be widespread in nature. Because these transposable element families are large it is possible that an insect species targeted for transformation will contain related transposable elements. The data presented here begin to address directly the question of interaction between diverged but related members of transposable element families. We tested the ability of the hAT elements hobo and Hermes to interact and cause crossmobilization. Using plasmid-based and chromosome-based element mobility assays we found that the terminal sequences of hobo and Hermes were almost equally good substrates for hobo transposase. However, this ability to crossmobilize was not reciprocal. Hermes transposase was only rarely able to cause the excision of hobo elements from plasmids and was never observed from germline chromosomes. These results have important implications for transgenic insect studies in the future.

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