Living Reference Work Entry

Molecular Life Sciences

pp 1-7

Date: Latest Version

Regulation of Genetic Element Mobility

  • Adam R. ParksAffiliated withMolecular Control and Genetics Section, Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health
  • , Joseph E. PetersAffiliated withDepartment of Microbiology, Cornell University Email author 


Mobilization of genetic elements is typically a highly regulated process. Mobile elements must be active enough to maintain presence within a host, yet not move so frequently that they harm the host. Mobilization can be coordinated with cellular metabolism and timed to coincide with specific cellular events. Expression of recombinase genes is a key step for the activation of mobility; however, there are additional factors that modulate recombinase activity. The formation of nucleoprotein complexes that are capable of DNA strand exchange is also a key event that is heavily regulated. Once a functional nucleoprotein complex is formed, each intermediate step in the recombination process often increases the stability of the complex, driving reactions toward completion. The process of target DNA selection is also regulated in certain genetic elements. Transposons move between sites that lack DNA homology, and some can select specific sites within the target DNA to insert into. Certa ...

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