We identified eight independent Tam3 copies residing in the same Antirrhinum majus genome. All the copies showed excision at 15 °C, but not at 25 °C. Under conditions promoting excision, each copy appeared to transpose in the leaves and flower lobes with a nearly constant frequency, whereas individual transposition abilities varied widely: the most active copy had an excision frequency more than 100-fold greater than that of the least active one. Despite the different transposition abilities, the structures of the eight Tam3 copies were almost identical. These results made it clear that the transpositional ability of Tam3 is regulated by chromosomal position, but they do not imply position-dependent transposase activity. The position effect of the Tam3 transposition was found to be correlated to the methylation state of the copy's end regions: DNA methylation in the Tam3 end regions tended to suppress the excision activity, and the degree of methylation was dependent on the chromosomal position. Our results also provide evidence of de novo methylation provoked by transposition of the endogenous element. We propose a mechanism of transpositional regulation of plant transposons that responds to the degree of methylation as determined by chromosomal position.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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