Remobilization of Tol2 transposons in Xenopus tropicalis

Yergeau, Donald A.; Kelley, Clair M.; Kuliyev, Emin; Haiqing Zhu; Sater, Amy K.; Wells, Dan E.; Mead, Paul E.
January 2010
BMC Developmental Biology;2010, Vol. 10, p11
Academic Journal
Background: The Class II DNA transposons are mobile genetic elements that move DNA sequence from one position in the genome to another. We have previously demonstrated that the naturally occurring Tol2 element from Oryzias latipes efficiently integrates its corresponding non-autonomous transposable element into the genome of the diploid frog, Xenopus tropicalis. Tol2 transposons are stable in the frog genome and are transmitted to the offspring at the expected Mendelian frequency. Results: To test whether Tol2 transposons integrated in the Xenopus tropicalis genome are substrates for remobilization, we injected in vitro transcribed Tol2 mRNA into one-cell embryos harbouring a single copy of a Tol2 transposon. Integration site analysis of injected embryos from two founder lines showed at least one somatic remobilization event per embryo. We also demonstrate that the remobilized transposons are transmitted through the germline and re-integration can result in the generation of novel GFP expression patterns in the developing tadpole. Although the parental line contained a single Tol2 transposon, the resulting remobilized tadpoles frequently inherit multiple copies of the transposon. This is likely to be due to the Tol2 transposase acting in discrete blastomeres of the developing injected embryo during the cell cycle after DNA synthesis but prior to mitosis. Conclusions: In this study, we demonstrate that single copy Tol2 transposons integrated into the Xenopus tropicalis genome are effective substrates for excision and random re-integration and that the remobilized transposons are transmitted through the germline. This is an important step in the development of 'transposon hopping' strategies for insertional mutagenesis, gene trap and enhancer trap screens in this highly tractable developmental model organism.


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