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Plant Mol Biol. 1995 Mar;27(5):981-93.

The maize transposable element Ac is mobile in the legume Lotus japonicus.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, University of Aarhus, Denmark.


To evaluate the prospects for transposon mutagenesis in the autogamous diploid legume Lotus japonicus, the behaviour of the maize transposable element Ac was analysed in the progeny of 38 independent transgenic plants. The conditions for monitoring donor site excision using histochemical localization of beta-glucuronidase activity or the alternative spectinomycin resistance assay were established, and used to follow Ac mobility through two generations. Somatic excision was monitored as variegated cotyledons in the T2 generation and germinal excision events were scored in segregating T3 families as complete beta-glucuronidase-mediated staining of cotyledons or as a fully green spectinomycin-resistant phenotype. Using these assays an average germinal excision frequency of 12% was estimated in the T3 offspring from variegated plants. The fidelity of the excision assays was ascertained by comparing the frequency of germinal excision to the frequency of Ac reinsertion at new positions of the genome. Transposition of Ac in 42% of the plants and detection of the characteristic Ac insertion/excision footprints suggests that insertion mutagenesis with the autonomous maize Activator element is feasible in Lotus japonicus. Parameters influencing Ac behaviour, such as dosage, position effects and modification of the element itself, were also investigated comparing homozygous and hemizygous plants from the same family and by analysing different transformants.

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