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As part of the analysis of the Arabidopsis mutant iae1-1 (increased Ac excision), quantitative studies of the Ac transposase transcript were conducted. The primary transcript of Ac contains three small introns (introns 1-3; mean size 89 bp) and one larger intron (intron 4; 387 bp). We analysed the splicing of intron 3 and intron 4 in wild-type Arabidopsis and the iae1-1 mutant. Our results demonstrate that the splicing of Ac introns 3 and 4 is inefficient (splicing efficiencies 57 and 30% respectively) compared with that of an intron of an endogenous Arabidopsis gene (PHYB intron 1; splicing efficiency 90%). The poor splicing efficiency of Ac intron 4 was found to correlate with aberrant processing. Steady state levels of total Ac transcript were higher in the iae1-1 mutant than wild-type, but the same aberrant processing occurred. The inefficient processing of Ac in Arabidopsis prompted us to construct an Ac element lacking introns (Ac::cDNA) in an attempt to increase transposition frequencies. Autonomous activity of the Ac::cDNA element was undetectable in Arabidopsis, despite its ability to transpose at high frequency in response to a strong transposase source (35S::transposase) in trans, and the demonstrable autonomy of the same element in tobacco. A number of smaller transcripts were detected in Arabidopsis lines containing Ac::cDNA or Ac. Analysis of these smaller transcripts revealed a high frequency of premature polyadenylation in exon 2 and splicing of cryptic introns.


Journal article


Plant J

Publication Date





921 - 931


Arabidopsis, Base Sequence, Cloning, Molecular, Culture Techniques, DNA Nucleotidyltransferases, Exons, Gene Expression Regulation, Plant, Introns, Molecular Sequence Data, Plants, Genetically Modified, Plants, Toxic, Polymerase Chain Reaction, RNA Precursors, RNA Splicing, RNA, Plant, Recombination, Genetic, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Species Specificity, Tobacco, Transposases