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Mol Gen Genet. 1993 Dec;241(5-6):627-36.

Analysis of the frequency of inheritance of transposed Ds elements in Arabidopsis after activation by a CaMV 35S promoter fusion to the Ac transposase gene.

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Cambridge Laboratory, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK.


The Ac/Ds transposon system of maize shows low activity in Arabidopsis. However, fusion of the CaMV 35S promoter to the transposase gene (35S::TPase) increases the abundance of the single Ac mRNA encoded by Ac and increases the frequency of Ds excision. In the experiments reported here it is examined whether this high excision frequency is associated with efficient re-insertion of the transposon. This was measured by using a Ds that carried a hygromycin resistance gene (HPT) and was inserted within a streptomycin resistance gene (SPT). Excision of Ds therefore gives rise to streptomycin resistance, while hygromycin resistance is associated with the presence of a transposed Ds or with retention of the element at its original location. Self-fertilisation of most individuals heterozygous for Ds and 35S::TPase produced many streptomycin-resistant (strep(r)) progeny, but in many of these families a small proportion of strep(r) seedlings were also resistant to hygromycin (hyg(r)). Nevertheless, 70% of families tested did give rise to at least one strep(r), hyg(r) seedling, and over 90% of these individuals carried a transposed Ds. In contrast, the Ac promoter fusion to the transposase gene (Ac::TPase) produced fewer strep(r)hyg(r) progeny, and only 53% of these carried a transposed Ds. However, a higher proportion of the strep(r) seedlings were also hyg(r) than after activation by 35S::TPase. We also examined the genotype of strep(r), hyg(r) seedlings and demonstrated that after activation by 35S::TPase many of these were homozygous for the transposed Ds, while this did not occur after activation by Ac::TPase. From these and other data we conclude that excisions driven by 35S::TPase usually occur prior to floral development, and that although a low proportion of strep(r) progeny plants inherit a transposed Ds, those that do can be efficiently selected with an antibiotic resistance gene contained within the element. Our data have important implications for transposon tagging strategies in transgenic plants and these are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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