IS10/Tn10 Transposition Efficiently Accommodates Diverse Transposon End Configurations

EMBO J. 1996 Sep 16;15(18):5112-22.


Transposon Tn10 and its component insertion sequence IS10 move by non-replicative transposition. We have studied the array of reaction intermediates and products in a high efficiency in vitro IS10/Tn10 transposition reaction. Synapsis of two transposon ends, followed by cleavage and strand transfer, can occur very efficiently irrespective of the relative locations and orientations of the two ends. The two participating ends can occur in inverted or direct orientation on the same molecule or, most importantly, on two different molecules. This behavior contrasts sharply with that of Mu, in which transposition is strongly biased in favor of inverted repeat synapsis. Mechanistically, the absence of discrimination amongst various end configurations implies that the architecture within the IS10/Tn10 synaptic complex is relatively simple, i.e. lacking any significant intertwining of component DNA strands. Biologically these observations are important because they suggest that the IS10 insertion sequence module has considerable flexibility in the types of DNA rearrangements that it can promote. Most importantly, it now seems highly probable that a single non-replicative IS10 element can promote DNA rearrangements usually attributed to replicative transposition, i.e. adjacent deletions and cointegrates, by utilizing transposon ends on two sister chromosomes. Other events which probably also contribute to the diversity of IS10/Tn10-promoted rearrangements are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases / metabolism
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • DNA, Single-Stranded / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Genetic
  • Transposases


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Single-Stranded
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases
  • Transposases