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mediator of paramutation1 Is Required for Establishment and Maintenance of Paramutation at Multiple Maize Loci

Jane E. Dorweiler, Charles C. Carey, Kenneth M. Kubo, Jay B. Hollick, Jerry L. Kermicle and Vicki L. Chandler
The Plant Cell
Vol. 12, No. 11 (Nov., 2000), pp. 2101-2118
DOI: 10.2307/3871108
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3871108
Page Count: 18
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mediator of paramutation1 Is Required for Establishment and Maintenance of Paramutation at Multiple Maize Loci
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Abstract

Paramutation is the directed, heritable alteration of the expression of one allele when heterozygous with another allele. Here, the isolation and characterization of a mutation affecting paramutation, mediator of paramutation1-1 (mop1-1), are described. Experiments demonstrate that the wild-type gene Mop1 is required for establishment and maintenance of the paramutant state. The mop1-1 mutation affects paramutation at the multiple loci tested but has no effect on alleles that do not participate in paramutation. The mutation does not alter the amounts of actin and ubiquitin transcripts, which suggests that the mop1 gene does not encode a global repressor. Maize plants homozygous for mop1-1 can have pleiotropic developmental defects, suggesting that mop1-1 may affect more genes than just the known paramutant ones. The mop1-1 mutation does not alter the extent of DNA methylation in rDNA and centromeric repeats. The observation that mop1 affects paramutation at multiple loci, despite major differences between these loci in their gene structure, correlations with DNA methylation, and stability of the paramutant state, suggests that a common mechanism underlies paramutation. A protein-based epigenetic model for paramutation is discussed.

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