Molecular analysis of rice plants harboring an Ac/Ds transposable element-mediated gene trapping system


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In rice, limited efforts have been made to identify genes by the use of insertional mutagens, especially hetero- logous transposons such as the maize Ac/Ds. We constructed Ac and gene trap Ds vectors and introduced them into the rice genome by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. In this report, rice plants that contained single and simple insertions of T-DNA were analysed in order to evaluate the gene-tagging efficiency. The 3′ end of Ds was examined for putative splicing donor sites. As observed in maize, three splice donor sites were identified at the 3′ end of the Ds in rice. Nearly 80% of Ds elements were excised from the original T-DNA sites, when Ac cDNA was expressed under a CaMV 35S promoter. Repetitive ratoon culturing was performed to induce new transpositions of Ds in new plants derived from cuttings. About 30% of the plants carried at least one Ds which underwent secondary transposition in the later cultures. Eight per cent of transposed Ds elements expressed GUS in various tissues of rice panicles. With cloned DNA adjacent to Ds, the genomic complexities of the insertion sites were examined by Southern hybridization. Half of the Ds insertion sites showed simple hybridization patterns which could be easily utilized to locate the Ds. Our data demonstrate that the Ac/Ds-mediated gene trap system could prove an excellent tool for the analysis of functions of genes in rice. We discuss genetic strategies that could be employed in a large scale mutagenesis using a hetero- logous Ac/Ds family in rice.