The Tn21 subgroup of bacterial transposable elements

Plasmid. 1990 Nov;24(3):163-89. doi: 10.1016/0147-619x(90)90001-s.


The Tn3 family of transposable elements is probably the most successful group of mobile DNA elements in bacteria: there are many different but related members and they are widely distributed in gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. The Tn21 subgroup of the Tn3 family contains closely related elements that provide most of the currently known variation in Tn3-like elements in gram-negative bacteria and that are largely responsible for the problem of multiple resistance to antibiotics in these organisms. This paper reviews the structure, the mechanism of transposition, the mode of acquisition of accessory genes, and the evolution of these elements.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Bacterial