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Tol1 is a DNA-based transposable element residing in the genome of the medaka fish Oryzias latipes, and has been proven to be transposed in various vertebrate species, including mammals. This element belongs to the hAT (hobo/Activator/Tam3) transposable element family, whose members are distributed in a wide range of organisms. It is thus possible that Tol1 is mobile in organisms other than vertebrates. We here show that transposition of this element occurs in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. A donor plasmid containing a Tol1 element and a helper plasmid carrying the transposase gene were delivered into gonad cells and, after several generations of culturing, were recovered from worms. PCR analysis of the donor plasmid, using primers that encompassed the Tol1 element, revealed excision of the Tol1 portion from the plasmid. Analysis of genomic DNA of the worms by the inverse PCR method provided evidence that Tol1 had been integrated into the C. elegans chromosomes. Vertebrates and C. elegans are phylogenetically distantly related organisms in that the former are deuterostomes and the latter a protostome animal. Our results indicate (1) the transposition reaction of the Tol1 element requires, besides the transposase, no factors from host cells, or (2) the host factors, even if required, are those that are common to protostomes and deuterostomes. The results also have significance for the development of a gene transfer vector and other biotechnology tools for C. elegans.


K Kodama, S Takagi, A Koga. The Tol1 element of the medaka fish, a member of the hAT transposable element family, jumps in Caenorhabditis elegans. Heredity. 2008 Sep;101(3):222-7

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PMID: 18506201

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