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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2004 Oct;61(19-20):2632-45.

Single-copy T-DNAs integrated at different positions in the Arabidopsis genome display uniform and comparable beta-glucuronidase accumulation levels.

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  • 1Department of Plant Systems Biology, Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), Ghent University, Technologiepark 927, 9052, Gent, Belgium.


This study aimed at determining whether transgene expression variability is observed in single-copy T-DNA plants and whether it can be correlated with the T-DNA integration position. Among a population of 135 Arabidopsis thaliana transformants, selected on the basis of antibiotic resistance marker expression, 21 single-copy T-DNA transformants were identified and characterized. In 19 of these 21 lines, 35S-beta-glucuronidase transgene expression, measured in two subsequent generations, was similar. This observation means that the intra-transformant variability was as high as the inter-transformant variability. Integration into an intergenic or genic region, into an exon or intron, in sense or antisense orientation, did not result in differential transgene expression. Remarkably, single-copy transformants were not always the highest expressers, implying that low transgene expression is not always induced by multicopy transformants. In only 2 of the 21 single-copy plants was the transgene expression more than 20-fold lower. However, characteristics of the insertion position in one of these lines did not differ significantly when compared to high-expressing lines. In the remaining line, methylation of the transgene was clearly demonstrated. In conclusion, screening for single-copy T-DNA transformants greatly enriches for stable and high transgene expression, because the integration position is not a major determinant of transgene expression variability in Arabidopsis.

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