Precise excision of TTAA-specific lepidopteran transposons piggyBac (IFP2) and tagalong (TFP3) from the baculovirus genome in cell lines from two species of Lepidoptera

Insect Mol Biol. 1996 May;5(2):141-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2583.1996.tb00048.x.


Transposon mutagenesis of baculoviruses provides an ideal experimental system for analysis of the movement of a unique family of mobile element identified from lepidopteran genomes. Members of this family of short-inverted-repeat elements are characterized by their extreme specificity for TTAA target sites. This report describes the analysis of excision events for two representatives of this family, tagalong (formerly TFP3) and piggyBac (formerly IFP2). These elements were tagged with a polyhedrin/lacZ reporter gene and inserted back into the virus genome either by homologous recombination or by transposition. Revertants were selected based on a white plaque phenotype. Both elements excise in a precise fashion from their positions in the baculovirus genome in either TN-368 cells or IPLB-SF21 AE cells. The precise excision of these elements in infected IPLB-SF21 AE cells occurs in the absence of either tagalong or piggyBac element encoded functions. The common characteristics of both insertion and excision for these elements provides further validation for their inclusion in a single family of unique transposons.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Baculoviridae / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Lac Operon
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Moths / genetics*
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Spodoptera / genetics


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA Transposable Elements