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J Mol Biol. 1991 Oct 20;221(4):1209-22.

rDNA intergenic region from Arabidopsis thaliana. Structural analysis, intraspecific variation and functional implications.

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University of Vienna, Department of Cytology and Genetics, Austria.


The ribosomal gene intergenic region from Arabidopsis thaliana contains four clusters of mutually unrelated repeated sequences. By comparison with the respective regions in two other Brassicaceae, Raphanus and Sinapis, the putative promoter sequence for RNA polymerase I was located. The homologies suggest that the RNA polymerase I promoter in Brassicaceae ranges further upstream than in animals. Upstream duplications of at least a part of the promoter region were found to be located between individual blocks of the largest internal repeat family ("A" repeats), which is made up of multiple repeats of two closely related sequences 21 or 20 bp in length. Overall structural similarities of the A. thaliana rDNA intergenic region with those from wheat and from Xenopus laevis are discussed. We also present data on the range of intraspecific length heterogeneities found in the central EcoRI fragment of the intergenic region and on the frequencies with which specific length variants occur in the genome. To determine the nature of the length heterogeneities, we sequenced the central EcoRI fragments from four independently isolated genomic clones. Three levels of rearrangements were detected. Length variation can be caused by duplication of a whole A repeat block, or, most frequently, by insertion and/or deletion of one or a few A repeat units. Surprisingly, single base mutations are extremely rare, which hints at some mechanism of homogenization which might be acting on the intergenic region. A possible function of the described sequences in transcriptional regulation is discussed and will be the aim of further investigations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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