Mismatch repair (MMR) genes participate in the maintenance of genome stability in all organisms. Based on its high degree of sequence conservation, it seems likely that the AtPMS1 gene of Arabidopsis thaliana is part of the MMR system in this model plant. To test this hypothesis, we aimed to disrupt AtPMS1 function by over-expressing mutated alleles expected to result in a dominant negative effect. To create one mutant allele we substituted two amino acids in the MutL-box, and for the other mutant allele we deleted 87 amino acids comprising the whole MutL-box. Contrary to published reports in some eukaryotes, transgenic plants expressing these alleles did not exhibit a decrease in fertility nor any other visible phenotype. To examine the impact of these mutations on microsatellite instability, the phenotype most often observed in organisms defective in MMR, reporter lines containing a uidA (GUS) gene inactivated by the insertion of a synthetic microsatellite (G7 or G16) were used. GUS gene function in these lines can be restored following the loss of one base or the gain of two bases in the repetitive tract. This results in the observation of blue sectors on a white background following histochemical staining. In a subset of the transformants, a significant increase (2- to 28-fold) in microsatellite instability was observed relative to wild-type. This report shows that MMR function can be disrupted via a dominant negative approach, and it is the first report to describe the phenotypic consequence of disrupting the function of a MutL homolog in plants.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 4, 2004
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