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Plant Cell. 1992 May;4(5):583-95.

Elevated levels of Activator transposase mRNA are associated with high frequencies of Dissociation excision in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1Cambridge Laboratory, John Innes Centre, Norwich, United Kingdom.


The Activator (Ac) element of maize is active at a low frequency in Arabidopsis. To determine whether this is due to poor expression of the Ac transposase gene, we obtained and studied 19 Arabidopsis transformants containing fusions of the octopine synthase (ocs), nopaline synthase (nos), cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S, or Ac promoters to the transposase open reading frame. These transformants were examined both for their ability to drive excision of a Dissociation (Ds) element from a streptomycin resistance gene and for the abundance of the transposase mRNA. Most transformants containing the CaMV 35S fusion have high levels of transposase transcript and drive high frequencies of somatic and germinal excision. These results demonstrated that Arabidopsis contains all of the host functions required for high frequency excision of Ds. Moreover, transposase mRNA abundance varied about 1000-fold among our transformants; this variation enabled us to demonstrate that for the Ac, ocs, and CaMV 35S fusion, raising the mRNA level is closely correlated with increasing excision frequency. We discuss our data in relation to the behavior of Ac in Arabidopsis, maize, and tobacco.

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