Transposon Tn554 encodes three products required for transposition

EMBO J. 1988 Sep;7(9):2935-41.


Tn554 is a high-frequency, site-specific, transposable element having integrative properties resembling those of lysogenic bacteriophages. Nucleotide sequence analysis indicates that Tn554 has three transposition genes, designated tnpA, tnpB and tnpC. Mutations in each of these were complemented efficiently in trans by clones containing internal fragments of Tn554; thus the products of these genes function in trans. Elements carrying deletions of the Tn554 termini could not be complemented. The product of tnpC is not absolutely required for transposition, since deletion mutations encompassing 80% of tnpC, as well as frameshift mutations located near the amino terminus of tnpC, transposed at frequencies as high as 2% of that observed with wild-type Tn554. However, such mutations affected the orientation of insertion. With wild-type Tn554 insertion occurs in a single orientation regardless of the orientation of the donor. In tnpC mutants insertion orientation was dictated by the orientation of Tn554 in the donor molecule. A mutant lacking the carboxy-terminal 59 residues of tnpB also exhibited altered insertion orientation. Thus it appears that the tnpC gene product is required for correct orientation of the element upon insertion and that this protein may interact with the carboxy-terminal portion of the tnpB gene product.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Southern
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Mutation
  • Plasmids
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics*


  • DNA Transposable Elements