Transposon-based technology for insertional mutagenesis of the genome has been widely used in Drosophila and could be adapted for genomic analysis in mammals. Minos is a mobile element of the Tc1/mariner superfamily isolated from Drosophila hydrei. In the September 25 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Zagoraiou et al. report the use of Minos transposons in mouse tissues (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:11474-11478). They generated two transgenic mouse lines: one expressing the Minos transposase gene specifically in lymphocytes (under control of the CD2 promoter) and the other carrying a non-autonomous Minos transposon. They crossed these mice and used PCR analysis to look for evidence of transposon excision. Excision was detected in the spleen and thymus of double transgenic animals. The authors then used FISH (fluorescent in situ hybridisation) to confirm transposition to other chromosomes. This work demonstrates that transposon-based technology may be developed for functional analysis of the mouse genome.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences