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Mol Cell Biol. 1986 Mar;6(3):933-41.

Tx1: a transposable element from Xenopus laevis with some unusual properties.


A family of transposable genetic elements in the genome of the frog, Xenopus laevis, is described. They are designated Tx1. Transposability of the elements was deduced by characterization of a chromosomal locus which is polymorphic for the presence or absence of a Tx1 element. Nucleotide sequence analysis suggested that Tx1 elements show target site specificity, as they are inserted at the pentanucleotide TTTAA in all four cases that were examined. The elements appear to have 19-base-pair (bp) inverted terminal repeats, and they are flanked by 4-bp target duplications (TTAA), although the possibility that they do not create target site duplications is discussed. Tx1 elements have several unusual characteristics: the central portion of each element is comprised of a variable number of two types of 393-bp repeating units; the rightmost 1,000 bp of the element contains separate regions potentially capable of forming bends, left-handed Z-form DNA, and alternative stem-loop structures. Comparisons among single frogs suggest that germ line transposition is relatively infrequent and that variations in numbers of internal repeats accumulate quite slowly at any locus.

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