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Theor Appl Genet. 2009 Nov;119(7):1325-33. doi: 10.1007/s00122-009-1137-8. Epub 2009 Aug 27.

Transpositional activation of mPing in an asymmetric nuclear somatic cell hybrid of rice and Zizania latifolia was accompanied by massive element loss.

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Key Laboratory of Molecular Epigenetics of MOE and Institute of Genetics & Cytology, Northeast Normal University, 130024 Changchun, China.


We have reported previously that the most active miniature inverted terminal repeat transposable element (MITE) of rice, mPing, was transpositionally mobilized in several rice recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from an introgressive hybridization between rice and wild rice (Zizania latifolia Griseb.). To further study the phenomenon of hybridization-induced mPing activity, we undertook the present study to investigate the element's behavior in a highly asymmetric somatic nuclear hybrid (SH6) of rice and Z. latifolia, which is similar in genomic composition to that of the RILs, though probably contains more introgressed alien chromatins from the donor species than the RILs. We found that mPing, together with its transposase-donor, Pong, underwent rampant transpositional activation in the somatic hybrid (SH6). Because possible effects of protoplast isolation and cell culture can be ruled out, we attribute the transpositional activation of mPing and Pong in SH6 to the process of asymmetric somatic hybridization, namely, one-step introgression of multiple chromatin segments of the donor species Z. latifolia into the recipient rice genome. A salient feature of mPing transposition in the somatic hybrid is that the element's activation was accompanied by massive loss of its original copies, i.e., abortive transpositions, which was not observed in previously reported cases of mPing activity. These data not only corroborated our earlier finding that wide hybridization and introgression may trigger transpositional activation of otherwise quiescent transposable elements, but also suggest that transpositional mobilization of a MITE like mPing can be accompanied by dramatic reduction of its original copy numbers under certain conditions, thus provide novel insights into the dynamics of MITEs in the course of genome evolution.

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