A small RNA mediated regulation of a stress-activated retrotransposon and the tissue specific transposition during the reproductive period in Arabidopsis

Wataru Matsunaga, Naohiko Ohama, Noriaki Tanabe, Yukari Masuta, Seiji Masuda, Namiki Mitani, Kazuko Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, Jian F. Ma, Atsushi Kato, Hidetaka Ito

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Transposable elements (TEs) are key elements that facilitate genome evolution of the host organism. A number of studies have assessed the functions of TEs, which change gene expression in the host genome. Activation of TEs is controlled by epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation and histone modifications. Several recent studies have reported that TEs can also be activated by biotic or abiotic stress in some plants. We focused on a Ty1/copia retrotransposon, ONSEN, that is activated by heat stress (HS) in Arabidopsis. We found that transcriptional activation of ONSEN was regulated by a small interfering RNA (siRNA)-related pathway, and the activation could also be induced by oxidative stress. Mutants deficient in siRNA biogenesis that were exposed to HS at the initial stages of vegetative growth showed transgenerational transposition. The transposition was also detected in the progeny, which originated from tissue that had differentiated after exposure to the HS. The results indicated that in some undifferentiated cells, transpositional activity could be maintained quite long after exposure to the HS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Issue numberFEB
Publication statusPublished - Feb 9 2015



  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Environmental stress
  • Small RNA
  • Transposon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

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