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Functional dissection of the cis-acting sequences of the Arabidopsis transposable element Tag1 reveals dissimilar subterminal sequence and minimal spacing requirements for transposition.

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  • Research Article


The Arabidopsis transposon Tag1 has an unusual subterminal structure containing four sets of dissimilar repeats: one set near the 5' end and three near the 3' end. To determine sequence requirements for efficient and regulated transposition, deletion derivatives of Tag1 were tested in Arabidopsis plants. These tests showed that a 98-bp 5' fragment containing the 22-bp inverted repeat and four copies of the AAACCX (X = C, A, G) 5' subterminal repeat is sufficient for transposition while a 52-bp 5' fragment containing only one copy of the subterminal repeat is not. At the 3' end, a 109-bp fragment containing four copies of the most 3' repeat TGACCC, but not a 55-bp fragment, which has no copies of the subterminal repeats, is sufficient for transposition. The 5' and 3' end fragments are not functionally interchangeable and require an internal spacer DNA of minimal length between 238 and 325 bp to be active. Elements with these minimal requirements show transposition rates and developmental control of excision that are comparable to the autonomous Tag1 element. Last, a DNA-binding activity that interacts with the 3' 109-bp fragment but not the 5' 98-bp fragment of Tag1 was found in nuclear extracts of Arabidopsis plants devoid of Tag1.

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