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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2017 Aug;38:171-180. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2017.06.005. Epub 2017 Jul 3.

Known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns in prokaryotic transposition.

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Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Toulouse, France.
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Toulouse, France; Department of Biochem., Mol. and Cell. Biol. Georgetown University Medical Center, 3900 Reservoir Rd., Washington, DC 20057-1455, USA. Electronic address:


Although the phenomenon of transposition has been known for over 60 years, its overarching importance in modifying and streamlining genomes took some time to recognize. In spite of a robust understanding of transposition of some TE, there remain a number of important TE groups with potential high genome impact and unknown transposition mechanisms and yet others, only recently identified by bioinformatics, yet to be formally confirmed as mobile. Here, we point to some areas of limited understanding concerning well established important TE groups with DDE Tpases, to address central gaps in our knowledge of characterised Tn with other types of Tpases and finally, to highlight new potentially mobile DNA species. It is not exhaustive. Examples have been chosen to provide encouragement in the continued exploration of the considerable prokaryotic mobilome especially in light of the current threat to public health posed by the spread of multiple AbR.

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