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This article is part of the supplement: Transposons in vertebrate functional genomics

Highly Accessed Open Badges Review

Tol2: a versatile gene transfer vector in vertebrates

Koichi Kawakami

Author Affiliations

Division of Molecular and Developmental Biology, National Institute of Genetics, and Department of Genetics, The Graduate University of Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI), Mishima, Shizuoka 411-8540, Japan

Genome Biology 2007, 8(Suppl 1):S7  doi:10.1186/gb-2007-8-s1-s7

Published: 31 October 2007


The medaka fish Tol2 element is an autonomous transposon that encodes a fully functional transposase. The transposase protein can catalyze transposition of a transposon construct that has 200 and 150 base pairs of DNA from the left and right ends of the Tol2 sequence, respectively. These sequences contain essential terminal inverted repeats and subterminal sequences. DNA inserts of fairly large sizes (as large as 11 kilobases) can be cloned between these sequences without reducing transpositional activity. The Tol2 transposon system has been shown to be active in all vertebrate cells tested thus far, including zebrafish, Xenopus, chicken, mouse, and human. In this review I describe and discuss how the Tol2 transposon is being applied to transgenic studies in these vertebrates, and possible future applications.