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Mol Genet Genomics. 2001 Aug;265(6):1060-8.

Disruption of their palindromic arrangement leads to selective loss of DNA methylation in inversely repeated gus transgenes in Arabidopsis.

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Departement Plantengenetica, Vlaams Interuniversitair Instituut voor Biotechnologie, Universiteit Gent, Belgium.


The transgene locus KH15, which is highly susceptible to silencing in Arabidopsis thaliana, contains two inversely repeated beta-glucuronidase (gus) genes separated by a palindromic sequence and has a low GUS activity, was found to be heavily methylated in the gus coding sequence and in the center of the inverted repeat. The locus KHsb67, which is less prone to silencing, was found to be less densely methylated in the non-repetitive region that separates the inversely repeated gus genes. After the removal of one of the gus genes by Cre-mediated recombination, methylation in both loci decreased or was totally lost. Despite the presence of a 732-bp palindromic sequence in the deletion line derived from KH15, this sequence was not methylated. Whereas the KH15 locus triggers methylation of homologous gus genes when placed in trans to them, the deletion derivative did not, suggesting that the capacity for cross-talk was severely affected by disruption of the palindromic arrangement. This result suggests that the transcribed palindromic sequences are required to maintain the methylation of both symmetrically and non-symmetrically arranged cytosines.

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