Target site selection in transposition

Annu Rev Biochem. 1997;66:437-74. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biochem.66.1.437.


Transposable elements are discrete mobile DNA segments that can insert into non-homologous target sites. Diverse patterns of target site selectivity are observed: Some elements display considerable target site selectivity and others display little obvious selectivity, although none appears to be truly "random." A variety of mechanisms for target site selection are used: Some elements use direct interactions between the recombinase and target DNA whereas other elements depend upon interactions with accessory proteins that communicate both with the target DNA and the recombinase. The study of target site selectivity is useful in probing recombination mechanisms, in studying genome structure and function, and also in providing tools for genome manipulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases / metabolism
  • DNA Transposable Elements / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Plants
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transposases


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases
  • Transposases