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Sense transgene-induced post-transcriptional gene silencing in tobacco compromises the splicing of endogenous counterpart genes.

By Mi-Rae Shin, Masaya Natsuume, Takashi Matsumoto, Mitsumasa Hanaoka, Misaki Imai, Ken Iijima, Shin-Ichiro Oka, Eri Adachi and Hiroaki Kodama


Sense transgene-induced post-transcriptional gene silencing (S-PTGS) is thought to be a type of RNA silencing in which ARGONAUTE1 directs the small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated cleavage of a target mRNA in the cytoplasm. Here, we report that the altered splicing of endogenous counterpart genes is a main cause for the reduction of their mature mRNA levels. After the S-PTGS of a tobacco endoplasmic reticulum ω-3 fatty acid desaturase (NtFAD3) gene, 3'-truncated, polyadenylated endo-NtFAD3 transcripts and 5'-truncated, intron-containing endo-NtFAD3 transcripts were detected in the total RNA fraction. Although transcription proceeded until the last exon of the endogenous NtFAD3 gene, intron-containing NtFAD3 transcripts accumulated in the nucleus of the S-PTGS plants. Several intron-containing NtFAD3 transcripts harboring most of the exon sequences were generated when an endogenous silencing suppressor gene, rgs-CaM, was overexpressed in the S-PTGS plants. These intron-containing NtFAD3 splice variants were generated in the presence of NtFAD3 siRNAs that are homologous to the nucleotide sequences of these splice variants. The results of this study indicate that the inhibition of endo-NtFAD3 gene expression is primarily directed via the alteration of splicing and not by cytoplasmic slicer activity. Our results suggest that the transgene and intron-containing endogenous counterpart genes are differentially suppressed in S-PTGS plants

Topics: Medicine, R, Science, Q
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
DOI identifier: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087869
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