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Genetics. 2006 Nov;174(3):1095-104. Epub 2006 Sep 1.

Trans-kingdom transposition of the maize dissociation element.

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Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, The National University of Singapore, 117604 Singapore, Singapore.


Transposons are very valuable tools for genetic manipulation. However, the number of transposable elements that have been suitably adapted for experimental use is insufficient and the spectrum of heterologous hosts in which they have been deployed is restricted. To date, only transposons from animal hosts have been utilized in heterologous animal species and transposons of plant origin have been used in plant genetics. There has been no experimental evidence that any of the known elements could transpose in hosts belonging to both kingdoms. Here we demonstrate that the maize Dissociation (Ds) element is capable of effective Activator (Ac) transposase-mediated transposition in the zebrafish Danio rerio, yielding remarkable germline transmission rates. In addition, mammalian cells were also found to be conducive to Ds transposition. Furthermore, we demonstrate that nuclear localization of Ac transposase is essential for genomic Ds transposition. Our results support the hypothesis that Ac/Ds elements do not rely on host-specific factors for transposition and that host factors involved in their mobility mechanism are widely conserved. Finally, even in vertebrate cells, the Ac/Ds system displays accurate transposition, large-fragment carrying capacity, high transposition frequencies, efficient germline transmission, and reporter gene expression, all of which are advantageous for various genetic applications and animal biotechnology.

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