Optimized Sleeping Beauty transposons rapidly generate stable transgenic cell lines

Biotechnol J. 2015 Apr;10(4):647-53. doi: 10.1002/biot.201400821. Epub 2015 Mar 2.


Stable gene expression in mammalian cells is a prerequisite for many in vitro and in vivo experiments. However, either the integration of plasmids into mammalian genomes or the use of retro-/lentiviral systems have intrinsic limitations. The use of transposable elements, e.g. the Sleeping Beauty system (SB), circumvents most of these drawbacks (integration sites, size limitations) and allows the quick generation of stable cell lines. The integration process of SB is catalyzed by a transposase and the handling of this gene transfer system is easy, fast and safe. Here, we report our improvements made to the existing SB vector system and present two new vector types for robust constitutive or inducible expression of any gene of interest. Both types are available in 16 variants with different selection marker (puromycin, hygromycin, blasticidin, neomycin) and fluorescent protein expression (GFP, RFP, BFP) to fit most experimental requirements. With this system it is possible to generate cell lines from stable transfected cells quickly and reliably in a medium-throughput setting (three to five days). Cell lines robustly express any gene-of-interest, either constitutively or tightly regulated by doxycycline. This allows many laboratory experiments to speed up generation of data in a rapid and robust manner.

Keywords: Fluorescent proteins; Inducible gene transcription; Low background expression; Rapid selection; Sleeping Beauty transposon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics*
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic
  • Transgenes / genetics*
  • Transposases


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Transposases