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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Reveal Multiple Gene Silencing Pathways Involved in Horizontal Transmission

May 20, 2015

A group of scientists led by Dr. Zhu Jiankang of Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences discovered paramutation on tandem repeats in a transgenic Arabidopsis. Furthermore, they found that multiple gene silence pathways are involved in epigenetic inheritance and maintenance. The results of their study are reported in Cell Reports.

Several copies of the transgene pRD29A-LUC in Arabidopsis were found to behave like a paramutation locus. The silent state of the gene is induced by mutations in the DNA glycosylase gene ROS1. The silent alleles of LUC can be maintained in the absence of ros1 mutations. They also found through genetic analyses using multiple mutants that are defective in epigenetic regulation indicate that maintaining the silencing at the LUC gene requires action of multiple silencing pathways as well as other unidentified factors. The study identified specific silencing factors that are involved in the paramutation-like phenomenon and established a model system to study paramutation in Arabidopsis.

Read more information about the study at Chinese Academy of Sciences.