Functional similarities between retroviruses and the IS3 family of bacterial insertion sequences?

Mol Microbiol. 1990 Oct;4(10):1771-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.1990.tb00555.x.


Members of the IS3 family of insertion sequences are found in a wide range of bacteria. At least 10 members of this family carry two major open reading frames: a small upstream frame (0 phase), and a longer downstream frame in the -1 phase. The downstream frame shows significant similarity at the amino acid level. A highly conserved region of this frame also exhibits notable similarity with a region of the integrase (endonuclease) domain of retroviruses. Although the overall transposition mechanism of the insertion sequence and retroviral elements is certainly different, the two groups may share additional common features, including a -1 frameshift resulting in the production of a fusion protein.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genes, Viral
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / genetics*
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Retroviridae / genetics*
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid*


  • DNA Transposable Elements