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Mol Gen Genet. 1999 Jan;260(6):582-92.

Gene silencing results in instability of antibody production in transgenic plants.

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Department of Genetics, Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology, University of Ghent, Gent, Belgium.


The stability of antibody and Fab expression was assessed in five different homozygous transgenic Arabidopsis lines. Each of these lines showed silencing of the transgenes that encode the antibody polypeptides, leading to instability of antibody production. However, each line had a different and specific instability profile. The characteristic variation in the level of antibody accumulation in each line as a function of developmental stage indicated that the T-DNA integration pattern played a role in triggering silencing, and also that the history and the integration position of simple transgene loci can influence the susceptibility to epigenetic silencing. In different lines with low antibody accumulation levels, methylation was found either in the promoter alone, in both the promoter and the transcribed region, in the transcribed region only, or in the transcribed region and downstream sequences. In conclusion, our data suggest that epigenetic effects result in different transgene expression profiles in each of the five Arabidopsis lines analyzed.

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