The Human THAP9 Gene Encodes an Active P-Element DNA Transposase

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Science  25 Jan 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6118, pp. 446-448
DOI: 10.1126/science.1231789

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The human genome contains ~50 genes that were derived from transposable elements or transposons, and many are now integral components of cellular gene expression programs. The human THAP9 gene is related to the Drosophila P-element transposase. Here, we show that human THAP9 can mobilize Drosophila P-elements in both Drosophila and human cells. Chimeric proteins formed between the Drosophila P-element transposase N-terminal THAP DNA binding domain and the C-terminal regions of human THAP9 can also mobilize Drosophila P elements. Our results indicate that human THAP9 is an active DNA transposase that, although "domesticated," still retains the catalytic activity to mobilize P transposable elements across species.

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