Everyman's guide to bacterial insertion sequences

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Siguier, Patricia
Gourbeyre, Edith
Varani, Alessandro [UNESP]
Ton-Hoang, Bao
Chandler, Mick

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The number and diversity of known prokaryotic insertion sequences (IS) have increased enormously since their discovery in the late 1960s. At present the sequences of more than 4000 different IS have been deposited in the specialized ISfinder database. Over time it has become increasingly apparent that they are important actors in the evolution of their host genomes and are involved in sequestering, transmitting, mutating and activating genes, and in the rearrangement of both plasmids and chromosomes. This review presents an overview of our current understanding of these transposable elements (TE), their organization and their transposition mechanism as well as their distribution and genomic impact. In spite of their diversity, they share only a very limited number of transposition mechanisms which we outline here. Prokaryotic IS are but one example of a variety of diverse TE which are being revealed due to the advent of extensive genome sequencing projects. A major conclusion from sequence comparisons of various TE is that frontiers between the different types are becoming less clear. We detail these receding frontiers between different IS-related TE. Several, more specialized chapters in this volume include additional detailed information concerning a number of these. In a second section of the review, we provide a detailed description of the expanding variety of IS, which we have divided into families for convenience. Our perception of these families continues to evolve and families emerge regularly as more IS are identified. This section is designed as an aid and a source of information for consultation by interested specialist readers.



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Microbiology Spectrum, v. 3, n. 2, 2015.