noun, plural: transposases

An enzyme catalyzing for the transposition of transposons to another part of the genome


Transposase is an enzyme involved in the process of transposition. Transposition pertains to the horizontal transfer of genetic material between organisms. The enzyme binds to the transposon, i.e. a small, mobile DNA sequence capable of replicating and inserting copies within genomes. The transposons bear genes coding for transposases. Transposases are able to catalyze the copying and inserting of a part of a genome or through a replicative transposition mechanism. The term transposes was first used in a report about cloning an enzyme needed for the transposition of the Tn3 transposon.1

Examples of transposases are the transposase Tn5 and the Is10 transposase. Transposase Tn5 is a ribonuclease coded by a transposon that includes the code for antibiotic resistance such as kanamycin.2 The Is10 transposase is an enzyme that shares regions of sequence identity with other insertion element transposases of the Is4 family.

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Related term(s):

1 McClintock, Barbara (June 1950). "The origin and behavior of mutable loci in maize". Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 36 (6): 344–55.
2 Reznikoff, William S. (2003). "Tn5 as a model for understanding DNA transposition". Molecular Microbiology 47 (5): 1199–1206.

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