Integrating DNA: transposases and retroviral integrases

Annu Rev Microbiol. 1999;53:245-81. doi: 10.1146/annurev.micro.53.1.245.


Transposable elements appear quite disparate in their organization and in the types of genetic rearrangements they promote. In spite of this diversity, retroviruses and many transposons of both prokaryotes and eukaryotes show clear similarities in the chemical reactions involved in their transposition. This is reflected in the enzymes, integrases and transposases, that catalyze these reactions and that are essential for the mobility of the elements. In this chapter, we examine the structure-function relationships between these enzymes and the different ways in which the individual steps are assembled to produce a complete transposition cycle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catalytic Domain
  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Integrases / chemistry
  • Integrases / metabolism*
  • Retroviridae / enzymology*
  • Retroviridae / genetics*
  • Transposases / chemistry
  • Transposases / metabolism*


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA
  • Integrases
  • Transposases