Transposon Tn7. cis-Acting sequences in transposition and transposition immunity

J Mol Biol. 1989 May 5;207(1):35-52. doi: 10.1016/0022-2836(89)90439-7.


We have identified and characterized the cis-acting sequences at the termini of the bacterial transposon Tn7 that are necessary for its transposition. Tn7 participates in two kinds of transposition event: high-frequency transposition to a specific target site (attTn7) and low-frequency transposition to apparently random target sites. Our analyses suggest that the same sequences at the Tn7 ends are required for both transposition events. These sequences differ in length and nucleotide structure: about 150 base-pairs at the left end (Tn7L) and about 70 base-pairs at the right end (Tn7R) are necessary for efficient transposition. We also show that the ends of Tn7 are functionally distinct: a miniTn7 element containing two Tn7R ends is active in transposition but an element containing two Tn7L ends is not. We also report that the presence of Tn7's cis-acting transposition sequences anywhere in a target replicon inhibits subsequent insertion of another copy of Tn7 into either an attTn7 target site or into random target sites. The inhibition to an attTn7 target site is most pronounced when the Tn7 ends are immediately adjacent to attTn7. We also show that the presence of Tn7R's cis-acting transposition sequences in a target replicon is necessary and sufficient to inhibit subsequent Tn7 insertion into the target replicon.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Base Composition
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Immunity*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Plasmids
  • Replicon


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Bacterial