Transposable element insertion and epigenetic modification cause the multiallelic variation in the expression of FAE1 in Sinapis alba.

Zeng, F. and Cheng, B.F. (2014). "Transposable element insertion and epigenetic modification cause the multiallelic variation in the expression of FAE1 in Sinapis alba.", Plant Cell, 26(6), pp. 2648-2659. doi : 10.1105/tpc.114.126631  Access to full text

Abstract

Naturally occurring heritable variation provides a fundamental resource to reveal the genetic and molecular bases of traits in forward genetic studies. Here, we report the molecular basis of the differences in the four alleles E{sup}1{/sup}, E{sup}2{/sup}, E{sup}3{/sup}, and e of the FATTY ACID ELONGATION1 (FAE1) gene controlling high, medium, low, and zero erucic content in yellow mustard (Sinapis alba). E{sup}1{/sup} represents a fully functional allele with a coding DNA sequence (CDS) of 1521 bp and a promoter adjacent to the CDS. The null allele e resulted from an insertional disruption in the CDS by Sal-PIF, a 3100-bp PIF/Harbinger-like DNA transposon, whereas E{sup}2{/sup} and E{sup}3{/sup} originated from the insertion of Sal-T1, a 4863-bp Copia-like retrotransposon, in the 5′ untranslated region. E{sup}3{/sup} was identical to E{sup}2{/sup} but showed cytosine methylation in the promoter region and was thus an epiallele having a further reduction in expression. The coding regions of E{sup}2{/sup} and E{sup}3{/sup} also contained five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) not present in E{sup}1{/sup}, but expression studies in Saccharomyces cerevisiae indicated that these SNPs did not affect enzyme functionality. These results demonstrate a comprehensive molecular framework for the interplay of transposon insertion, SNP/indel mutation, and epigenetic modification influencing the broad range of natural genetic variation in plants.

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