T-DNA insertion mutants have been widely used to investigate plant gene functions. Unexpectedly, in several reported cases, the phenotype of T-DNA insertion mutations can be suppressed because of trans T-DNA interactions associated with epigenetic modification, which indicates that caution is needed when T-DNA mutants are used. In the present study, we characterized a novel process suppressing a T-DNA mutation. The spz2 (suppressor of zou 2) mutant was isolated as a suppressor of the phenotype of the zou-4 mutant caused by a T-DNA insertion in the first intron. The spz2 mutation partially recovered the native ZOU gene expression in the zou-4 background, but not in two other zou alleles, zou-2 and zou-3, with T-DNAs inserted in the exon and intron, respectively. The suppressed phenotype was inherited in a Mendelian fashion and is not associated with epigenetic modification. The recovery of the native ZOU gene expression in the spz2 zou-4 double mutant is caused by transcriptional read-through of the intronic T-DNA as a result of decreased proximal polyadenylation. SPZ2 encodes an RNA-binding protein, FPA, which is known to regulate polyadenylation site selection. This is the first example of FPA rescuing a T-DNA insertion mutation by affecting the polyadenylation site selection.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: May 10, 2016
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