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Mol Microbiol. 1992 Nov;6(22):3343-53.

Quelling: transient inactivation of gene expression in Neurospora crassa by transformation with homologous sequences.

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Dipartimento di Biopatologia Umana, Policlinico Umberto 1, Università di Roma La Sapienza, Italy.


Up to 36% of Neurospora crassa transformants showing an albino phenotype were recovered by transforming a wild-type strain with different portions of the carotenogenic albino-3 (al-3) and albino-1 (al-1) genes. The presence of the exogenous sequences (which were randomly integrated in ectopic locations) provoked a severe impairment in the expression of the endogenous al-1 or al-3 genes. This phenomenon, which we have termed 'quelling', was found to be spontaneously and progressively reversible, leading to wild-type or intermediate phenotypes. The phenotypic reversion is characterized by a progressive release of the transcriptional inhibition and seems to correlate with a reduction of the number of the ectopic integrated sequences. Moreover, quelling appears to be monodirectional, as, once relieved, it cannot take place again, despite the continuing presence of some of the ectopic sequences in the genome.

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