Activation and epigenetic regulation of DNA transposon nDart1 in rice

Chang Ho Eun, Kyoko Takagi, Kyeung Il Park, Masahiko Maekawa, Shigeru Iida, Kazuo Tsugane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


A large part of the rice genome is composed of transposons. Since active excision/reintegration of these mobile elements may result in harmful genetic changes, many transposons are maintained in a genetically or epigenetically inactivated state. However, some non-autonomous DNA transposons of the nDart1-3 subgroup, including nDart1-0, actively transpose in specific rice lines, such as pyl-v which carries an active autonomous element, aDart1-27, on chromosome 6. Although nDart1-3 subgroup elements show considerable sequence identity, they display different excision frequencies. The most active element, nDart1-0, had a low cytosine methylation status. The aDart1-27 sequence showed conservation between pyl-stb (pyl-v derivative line) and Nipponbare, which both lack autonomous activity for transposition of nDart1-3 subgroup elements. In pyl-v plants, the promoter region of the aDart1-27 transposase gene was more hypomethylated than in other rice lines. Treatment with the methylation inhibitor 5-azacytidine (5-azaC) induced transposition of nDart1-3 subgroup elements in both pyl-stb and Nipponbare plants; the new insertion sites were frequently located in genic regions. 5-AzaC treatment principally induced expression of Dart1-34 transposase rather than the other 38 aDart1-related elements in both pyl-stb and Nipponbare treatment groups. Our observations show that transposition of nDart1-3 subgroup elements in the nDart1/aDart1 tagging system is correlated with the level of DNA methylation. Our system does not cause somaclonal variation due to an absence of transformed plants, offers the possibility of large-scale screening in the field and can identify dominant mutants. We therefore propose that this tagging system provides a valuable addition to the tools available for rice functional genomics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-868
Number of pages12
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-AzaC
  • DNA transposons
  • Functional genomics
  • Induced transpositions
  • Rice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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