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Genetics and Molecular Biology

Print version ISSN 1415-4757


KAJIHARA, Daniela et al. Functional characterization of sugarcane mustang domesticated transposases and comparative diversity in sugarcane, rice, maize and sorghum. Genet. Mol. Biol. [online]. 2012, vol.35, n.3, pp.632-639.  Epub July 05, 2012. ISSN 1415-4757.

Transposable elements (TEs) account for a large portion of plant genomes, particularly in grasses, in which they correspond to 50%-80% of the genomic content. TEs have recently been shown to be a source of new genes and new regulatory networks. The most striking contribution of TEs is referred as “molecular domestication”, by which the element coding sequence loses its movement capacity and acquires cellular function. Recently, domesticated transposases known as mustang and derived from the Mutator element have been described in sugarcane. In order to improve our understanding of the function of these proteins, we identified mustang genes from Sorghum bicolor and Zea mays and performed a phenetic analysis to assess the diversity and evolutionary history of this gene family. This analysis identified orthologous groups and showed that mustang genes are highly conserved in grass genomes. We also explored the transcriptional activity of sugarcane mustang genes in heterologous and homologous systems. These genes were found to be ubiquitously transcribed, with shoot apical meristem having the highest expression levels, and were downregulated by phytohormones. Together, these findings suggest the possible involvement of mustang proteins in the maintenance of hormonal homeostasis.

Keywords : domesticated tranposases; Saccharum sp.; Sorghum bicolor; transposable elements; Zea mays.

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