piggyBac internal sequences are necessary for efficient transformation of target genomes

Insect Mol Biol. 2005 Jan;14(1):17-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2583.2004.00525.x.


A previously reported piggyBac minimal sequence cartridge, which is capable of efficient transposition in embryo interplasmid transposition assays, failed to produce transformants at a significant frequency in Drosophila melanogaster compared with full-length or less extensive internal deletion constructs. We have re-examined the importance of these internal domain (ID) sequences for germline transformation using a PCR strategy that effectively adds increasing lengths of ID sequences to each terminus. A series of these piggyBac ID synthetic deletion plasmids containing the 3xP3-ECFP marker gene are compared for germline transformation of D. melanogaster. Our analyses identify a minimal sequence configuration that is sufficient for movement of piggyBac vectored sequences from plasmids into the insect genome. Southern hybridizations confirm the presence of the piggyBac transposon sequences, and insertion site analyses confirm these integrations target TTAA sites. The results verify that ID sequences adjacent to the 5' and 3' terminal repeat domains are crucial for effective germline transformation with piggyBac even though they are not required for excision or interplasmid transposition. Using this information we reconstructed an inverted repeat cartridge, ITR1.1k, and a minimal piggyBac transposon vector, pXL-BacII-ECFP, each of which contains these identified ID sequences in addition to the terminal repeat configuration previously described as essential for mobility. We confirm in independent experiments that these new minimal constructs yield transformation frequencies similar to the control piggyBac vector. Sequencing analyses of our constructs verify the position and the source of a point mutation within the 3' internal repeat sequence of our vectors that has no apparent effect on transformation efficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Southern
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Genes, Insect / genetics*
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional / methods
  • Plasmids
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transformation, Genetic / genetics*


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA