R. Martienssen and A. Baron Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724 Transposable elements from the Robertson's Mutator family are highly active insertional mutagens in maize. However, mutations caused by the insertion of responder (non-autonomous) elements frequently depend on the presence of active regulator (autonomous) elements for their phenotypic effects. The hcf106::Mu1 mutation has been previously shown to depend on Mu activity in this way. The dominant Lesion-mimic 28 mutation also requires Mu activity for its phenotypic effects. We have used double mutants to show that the loss of Mu activity results in the coordinate suppression of both mutant phenotypes. This loss can occur somatically resulting in large clones of cells that have a wild-type phenotype. Autonomous and non-autonomous Mutator elements within these clones are insensitive to digestion with methylation-sensitive enzymes, suggesting extensive methylation of CG and non-CG cytosine residues. Our data are consistent with the sectors being caused by the cycling of MuDR regulatory elements between active and inactive phases. The pattern of sectors suggests that they are clonal and that they are derived from the apical cells of the vegetative shoot meristem. We propose that these cells are more likely to undergo epigenetic loss of Mu activity because of their longer cell division cycle during shoot growth. Coordinate suppression of unlinked mutations can be used to perform mosaic analysis in maize.
Genetics – Genetics Society of America
Published: Mar 1, 1994
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