Excision of the piggyBac transposable element in vitro is a precise event that is enhanced by the expression of its encoded transposase

Genetica. 1996 Jul;98(1):33-41. doi: 10.1007/BF00120216.


The piggyBac Lepidopteran transposable element moves from the cellular genome into infecting baculovirus genomes during passage of the virus in cultured TN-368 cells. We have constructed genetically tagged piggyBac elements that permit analysis of excision when transiently introduced on plasmids into the piggyBac-deficient Spodoptera frugiperda IPLB-SF21AE cell line. Precise excision of the element from these plasmids occurs at a higher frequency in the presence of a helper plasmid that presumably supplies the piggyBac transposase. The results suggest that the piggyBac transposon encodes a protein that functions to facilitate not only insertion, but precise excision as well. This is the first demonstration of piggyBac mobility from plasmid sources in uninfected Lepidopteran cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases / genetics*
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Gene Expression / genetics
  • Genes, Suppressor / genetics
  • Lepidoptera / genetics*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Spodoptera / genetics
  • Transfection
  • Transposases


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases
  • Transposases