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Methods Mol Biol. 2012;859:229-40. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-603-6_13.

The Sleeping Beauty transposon toolbox.

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Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany.


The mobility of class II transposable elements (DNA transposons) can be experimentally controlled by separating the two functional components of the transposon: the terminal inverted repeat sequences that flank a gene of interest to be mobilized and the transposase protein that can be conditionally supplied to drive the transposition reaction. Thus, a DNA molecule of interest (e.g., a fluorescent marker, an shRNA expression cassette, a mutagenic gene trap or a therapeutic gene construct) cloned between the inverted repeat sequences of a transposon-based vector can be stably integrated into the genome in a regulated and highly efficient manner. Sleeping Beauty (SB) was the first transposon ever shown capable of gene transfer in vertebrate cells, and recent results confirm that SB supports a full spectrum of genetic engineering in vertebrate species, including transgenesis, insertional mutagenesis, and therapeutic somatic gene, transfer both ex vivo and in vivo. This methodological paradigm opened up a number of avenues for genome manipulations for basic and applied research. This review highlights the state-of-the-art in SB transposon technology in diverse genetic applications with special emphasis on the transposon as well as transposase vectors currently available in the SB transposon toolbox.

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