Submitted to: Annals of the Entomological Society of America
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/21/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Transposable elements are genetic units that can move from one organism to another, and in the case of agriculturally important insect pests, such elements may initiate genetic changes in various insect species that could lead to insecticide resistance and other significant but unforeseen biological effects. It is important to identify such genetic elements not only in insects but also in cell lines established from the whole insect. This study shows that of the 17 insect cell lines screened for the mariner transposable element, all but one had this element. To further confirm if this element was a mariner transposable element, the DNA and amino acid sequences from 2 of the 16 cell lines were compared and were found to match the known mariner element of the moth. This information will be useful to researchers in agriculture, industry, and academia and will be helpful in establishing a baseline on the prevalence of these elements in insect cell lines as well as their potential use as possible genetic transformation systems (vectors) in the movement of commercially important genes.
Technical Abstract: Fully-degenerate polymerase chain reaction primers, designed to represent amino-acid conserved regions between transposase genes of the Drosophila mauritiana and Hyalophora cecropia mariner transposable elements, were used to screen genomic DNA of 17 insect cell lines for a possible mariner-like element. All cell lines except Aedes albopictus were positive yielding a single appropriate size band of 490 bp. This PCR product from two of the cell lines, Heliothis subflexa and Heliothis virescens, was further characterized by cloning and sequencing to confirm whether it was a mariner-like transposon element. Alignment of the cloned PCR fragments showed the greatest DNA segment identity (29- 49%) and amino acid identity (39-56%) to the mariner transposon of the tortricid moth, Epinotin vertumnana.