A Single Genetic Unit Specifies Two Transposition Functions in the Maize Element Activator

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Science  10 Oct 1986:
Vol. 234, Issue 4773, pp. 210-211
DOI: 10.1126/science.234.4773.210


The self-mobile maize transposable element Ac (Activator) displays two trans-acting genetic functions: it induces transposition of the element Ds (Dissociation) but, as its dosage is increased, it also inhibits transposition. Previous work has shown that the 4563 base pair (bp)—long Ac element contains three open reading frames (ORF's) and that a deletion in ORF 1 in wx-m9(Ds), a Ds derivative from Ac isolated at the wx (waxy) locus, results in loss of transposition. The Ds element in the bronze allele bz-m2(DI) is shown to have arisen from Ac by a 1312-bp deletion that is located almost entirely within ORF 2 and does not affect ORF 1. The Ds elements in wx-m9(Ds) and bzm2(DI), defective in ORF 1 and ORF 2, respectively, do not complement genetically to restore the transposition function of Ac; therefore, this function must be specified jointly by ORF's 1 and 2. Furthermore, since bz-m2(DI) does not contribute to Ac's inhibitory dosage effect, both Ac properties result from the expression of the same genetic functional unit.