Molecular Life Sciences

Living Edition

Target-Site Selection

Living reference work entry



Target-site selection refers to the process that is used by mobile genetic elements to identify a new genetic locus for insertion (Craig1997; Wu and Burgess2004). Most mobile elements exhibit at least some degree of target-site specificity. The specificity for a given target DNA can vary dramatically from element to element and often results from sequence preferences of the recombinase proteins. In addition to primary DNA sequence preferences, selection of a new DNA target may also be influenced by DNA accessibility, DNA structure, and cellular factors that are bound to the DNA.


Mobile genetic elements must regulate the timing and location of mobility to reduce damage to the host cell. While many mobile elements show a low level of specificity for any particular primary sequence and therefore can insert into a wide variety of genetic loci, virtually all mobile elements display some bias for certain features of the genome...


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Mobile Element Mobile Genetic Element Sequence Preference Target Immunity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bushman F, Lewinski M, Ciuffi A, Barr S, Leipzig J, Hannenhalli S, Hoffmann C (2005) Genome-wide analysis of retroviral DNA integration. Nat Rev Microbiol 3:848–858PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Craig NL (1997) Target site selection in transposition. Annu Rev Biochem 66:437–474PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Li Z, Craig NL, Peters JE (2013) Transposon Tn7. In: Roberts AP & Mullany P (eds) Bacterial Integrative Mobile Genetic Elements. Austin, TX: Landes Bioscience, pp. 1–32Google Scholar
  4. Nagy Z, Chandler M (2004) Regulation of transposition in bacteria. Res Microbiol 155:387–398PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Wu X, Burgess SM (2004) Integration target site selection for retroviruses and transposable elements. Cell Mol Life Sci 61:2588–2596PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Molecular Control and Genetics Section, Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology LaboratoryNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthFrederickUSA
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA