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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mutations in the mariner transposase: the D,D(35)E consensus sequence is nonfunctional.

Genetic analysis of eukaryote transposases and comparison with their prokaryote counterparts have been greatly hindered by difficulty in isolating mutations. We describe a simple eye-color screen that facilitates isolation and analysis of mutations in the mariner transposase in Drosophila melanogaster. Use of ethyl methanesulfonate and site-directed mutagenesis has identified 18 residues that are critical for in vivo excision of a target mariner element. When the mutations were examined in heterozygous mutant/nonmutant genotypes, more than half of the mutant transposase proteins were found to reduce the activity of the wild-type transposase, as assayed by the frequency of germline excision of a target element. Remarkably, transposase function is obliterated when the D,D(34)D acidic, ion-binding domain is replaced with the consensus sequence D,D(34)E found in the nematode Tc1 transposase and in many other transposases in the superfamily. A number of mutations strongly complement wild-type transposase in a dominant-negative manner, suggestive of subunit interactions in the excision reaction; these mutations are located in a small region that includes part of the D,D(34)D motif. Transposase function also is eliminated by a mutation in the inferred initiation codon and by a mutation in a putative nuclear localization signal.[1]


  1. Mutations in the mariner transposase: the D,D(35)E consensus sequence is nonfunctional. Lohe, A.R., De Aguiar, D., Hartl, D.L. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1997) [Pubmed]
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