Epigenetic silencing of a foreign gene in nuclear transformants of Chlamydomonas

Heriberto Cerutti, Anita M. Johnson, Nicholas W. Gillham, John E. Boynton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

122 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The unstable expression of introduced genes poses a serious problem for the application of transgenic technology in plants. In transformants of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, expression of a eubacterial aadA gene, conferring spectinomycin resistance, is transcriptionally suppressed by a reversible epigenetic mechanism(s). Variations in the size and frequency of colonies surviving on different concentrations of spectinomycin as well as the levels of transcriptional activity of the introduced transgene(s) suggest the existence of intermediate expression states in genetically identical cells. Gene silencing does not correlate with methylation of the integrated DNA and does not involve large alterations in its chromatin structure, as revealed by digestion with restriction endonucleases and DNase I. Transgene repression is enhanced by lower temperatures, similar to position effect variegation in Drosophila. By analogy to epigenetic phenomena in several eukaryotes, our results suggest a possible role for (hetero)chromatic chromosomal domains in transcriptional inactivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)925-945
Number of pages21
JournalPlant Cell
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 1997

Fingerprint

Spectinomycin
Chlamydomonas
spectinomycin
Deoxyribonuclease I
Transgenes
Epigenomics
epigenetics
transgenes
Chromosomal Position Effects
Genes
position effect (genetics)
deoxyribonuclease I
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
Chlorophyta
DNA Restriction Enzymes
restriction endonucleases
Gene Silencing
gene silencing
DNA Methylation
Eukaryota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

Cite this

Epigenetic silencing of a foreign gene in nuclear transformants of Chlamydomonas. / Cerutti, Heriberto; Johnson, Anita M.; Gillham, Nicholas W.; Boynton, John E.

In: Plant Cell, Vol. 9, No. 6, 01.06.1997, p. 925-945.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cerutti, Heriberto ; Johnson, Anita M. ; Gillham, Nicholas W. ; Boynton, John E. / Epigenetic silencing of a foreign gene in nuclear transformants of Chlamydomonas. In: Plant Cell. 1997 ; Vol. 9, No. 6. pp. 925-945.
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