Genomic DNA transposition induced by human PGBD5

Anton G. Henssen, Elizabeth Henaff, Eileen Jiang, Amy R. Eisenberg, Julianne R. Carson, Camila M. Villasante, Mondira Ray, Eric Still, Melissa Burns, Jorge Gandara, Cedric Feschotte, Christopher E. Mason, Alex Kentsis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transposons are mobile genetic elements that are found in nearly all organisms, including humans. Mobilization of DNA transposons by transposase enzymes can cause genomic rearrangements, but our knowledge of human genes derived from transposases is limited. In this study, we find that the protein encoded by human PGBD5, the most evolutionarily conserved transposable element-derived gene in vertebrates, can induce stereotypical cut-and-paste DNA transposition in human cells. Genomic integration activity of PGBD5 requires distinct aspartic acid residues in its transposase domain, and specific DNA sequences containing inverted terminal repeats with similarity to piggyBac transposons. DNA transposition catalyzed by PGBD5 in human cells occurs genome-wide, with precise transposon excision and preference for insertion at TTAA sites. The apparent conservation of DNA transposition activity by PGBD5 suggests that genomic remodeling contributes to its biological function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10565
Issue numberSeptember
StatePublished - Sep 25 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience


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