Increased Ac excision (iae): Arabidopsis thaliana mutations affecting Ac transposition.
Jarvis P., Belzile F., Page T., Dean C.
The maize transposable element Ac is highly active in the heterologous hosts tobacco and tomato, but shows very much reduced levels of activity in Arabidopsis. A mutagenesis experiment was undertaken with the aim of identifying Arabidopsis host factors responsible for the observed low levels of Ac activity. Seed from a line carrying a single copy of the Ac element inserted into the streptomycin phosphotransferase (SPT) reporter fusion, and which displayed typically low levels of Ac activity, were mutagenized using gamma rays. Nineteen mutants displaying high levels of somatic Ac activity, as judged by their highly variegated phenotypes, were isolated after screening the M2 generation on streptomycin-containing medium. The mutations fall into two complementation groups, iae1 and iae2, are unlinked to the SPT::Ac locus and segregate in a Mendelian fashion. The iae1 mutation is recessive and the iae2 mutation is semi-dominant. The iae1 and iae2 mutants show 550- and 70-fold increases, respectively, in the average number of Ac excision sectors per cotyledon. The IAE1 locus maps to chromosome 2, whereas the SPT::Ac reporter maps to chromosome 3. A molecular study of Ac activity in the iae1 mutant confirmed the very high levels of Ac excision predicted using the phenotypic assay, but revealed only low levels of Ac re-insertion. Analyses of germinal transposition in the iae1 mutant demonstrated an average germinal excision frequency of 3% and a frequency of independent Ac re-insertions following germinal excision of 22%. The iae mutants represents a possible means of improving the efficiency of Ac/Ds transposon tagging systems in Arabidopsis, and will enable the dissection of host involvement in Ac transposition and the mechanisms employed for controlling transposable element activity.