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Decreased Expression of a Gene Caused by a T-DNA Insertion in an Adjacent Gene in Arabidopsis

posted on 01.02.2016, 12:59 by Kentaro Tamura, Takenori Kawabayashi, Toshiharu Shikanai, Ikuko Hara-Nishimura

ALADIN is a component of the nuclear pore complex in higher eukaryotes. An Arabidopsis knockout line that had a T-DNA insertion in the ALADIN gene was defective in plant growth and thylakoid development and had reduced photosynthetic activity resulting from lower chlorophyll accumulation. The mutation appeared to decrease the level of chloroplast RuBisCO subunits and PSBA and PGL35 proteins. Unexpectedly, the T-DNA insertion in the ALADIN gene decreased the expression of the neighboring gene PSRP5, which functions in translation in chloroplasts. The mutant phenotype was rescued by expressing PSRP5, but not by expressing ALADIN. The abnormal phenotypes were also detected in an artificial microRNA (amiRNA)-mediated PSRPS5 knockdown, but not in an amiRNA-mediated ALADIN knockdown line. Thus, users of T-DNA insertions should be aware that a T-DNA insertion in one gene can have effects on the expression of neighboring genes.