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Free Content Silencing of an aleurone-specific gene in transgenic rice is caused by a rearranged transgene

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In rice, silencing of the aleurone-specificLtp2-gustransgene, causing easily detectable staining patterns on the grain surface, offers a convenient tool to study quantitative aspects of gene silencing in monocots. In this paper we analyzed phenotypes, occurrence, inheritance and environmental effects on the silencing. We also report on the cloning of transgenes, determination of their structure and analysis of transcripts from the transgene loci. The results show that various patterns of silencing appeared in the R2 generation at which most of the transgenes became homozygous and that they were inherited for five generations. In addition, silencing independently occurred in three generations and reversion to full expression was also found. Cloning of transgenes from a silenced L3.3 line demonstrated that this line carried two transgene loci: one carried an intactLtp2-gusgene and the other carried a rearranged transgene in which part of thegusgene was in the antisense orientation. Analysis ofgustranscripts indicated that partial antisense RNA derived from the rearranged transgene was present in silenced lines and was polyadenylated but that it was absent in non-silenced lines. RNA analyses suggested that theLtp2-gussilencing in the aleurone layer was post-transcriptional and that it may be caused by interaction of partial antisensegustranscripts with normal sense transcripts. Possible involvement of antisense transcripts in post-transcriptional silencing is discussed.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, 8916–5 Takayama, Ikoma 2: Plant Molecular Biology Laboratory, Department of Biotechnological Sciences, Agricultural University of Norway, PO Box 5051, N-1432 Ås, Norway

Publication date: February 1, 1999

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