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Genetics. 2001 Jan;157(1):349-60.

Duplication and suppression of chloroplast protein translocation genes in maize.

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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724, USA.


The HCF106 (high chlorophyll fluorescence) gene of maize encodes a chloroplast membrane protein required for translocation of a subset of proteins across the thylakoid membrane. Mutations in HCF106 caused by the insertion of Robertson's Mutator transposable elements have been mapped to chromosome 2S. Here we show that there is a closely related homolog of HCF106 encoded elsewhere in the maize genome (HCF106c) that can partially compensate for these mutations. This homolog maps on chromosome 10L and is part of the most recent set of segmental duplications in the maize genome. Triple mutants that are disrupted in both the HCF106 and Sec-dependent protein translocation pathways provide evidence that they act independently. The HCF106c gene accounts for a previously reported exception to the correlation between epigenetic suppression of hcf106 and methylation of Mutator transposons. We also demonstrate that insertions of Robertson's Mutator elements into either introns or promoters can lead to mutations whose phenotypes are suppressed in the absence of Mu activity, while alleles with insertions in both positions are not suppressed. The implications of these observations are discussed.

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