IS10 transposition is regulated by DNA adenine methylation

Cell. 1985 Nov;43(1):117-30. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(85)90017-0.


We show that dam- mutants are a major class of E. coli mutants with increased IS10 activity. IS10 has two dam methylation sites, one within the transposase promoter and one within the inner terminus where transposase presumably binds. Absence of methylation results in increased activity of both promoter and terminus, and completely accounts for increased transposition in dam- strains. Transposition of Tn903 and Tn5 are also increased in dam- strains, probably for analogous reasons. Transposition is also increased when IS10 is hemimethylated. One hemimethylated species is much more active than the other and is estimated to be at least 1000 times more active than a fully methylated element. Evidence is presented that the promoter and inner terminus of IS10 are coordinately activated in a dam-dependent fashion, presumably because they are hemimethylated at the same time. Thus, in dam+ strains, IS10 will transpose preferentially when DNA is hemimethylated. We suggest specifically that IS10 transposition may preferentially occur immediately after passage of a chromosomal replication fork.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / metabolism*
  • DNA Replication
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • DNA, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Methylation
  • Mutation
  • Nucleotidyltransferases / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Terminator Regions, Genetic
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transposases


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Nucleotidyltransferases
  • Transposases
  • Adenine