Molecular characterization of transforming plasmid rearrangements in transgenic rice reveals a recombination hotspot in the CaMV 35S promoter and confirms the predominance of microhomology mediated recombination

Abstract

The characterization of plasmid-genomic DNA junctions following plant transformation has established links between DNA double-strand break repair (DSBR), illegitimate recombination and plasmid DNA integration. The limited information on plasmid–plasmid junctions in plants comes from the dicot species tobacco and Arabidopsis. We analyzed 12 representative transgenic rice lines, carrying a range of transforming plasmid rearrangements, which predominantly reflected microhomology mediated illegitimate recombination involving short complementary patches at the recombining ends. Direct end-ligation, in the absence of homology between the recombining molecules, occurred only rarely. Filler DNA was found at some of the junctions. Short, purine-rich tracts were present, either at the junction site or in the immediate flanking regions. Putative DNA topoisomerase I binding sites were clustered around the junctions. Although different regions of the transforming plasmid were involved in plasmid–plasmid recombination, we showed that a 19 bp palindromic sequence, including the TATA box of the CaMV 35S promoter, acted as a recombination hotspot. The purine-rich half of the palindromic sequence was specifically involved at the recombination junctions. This recombination hotspot is located within the ‘highly recombinogenic’ region of the full-length CaMV RNA that has been shown to promote viral recombination in dicot plants. Clustering of plasmid recombination events in this highly recombinogenic region, even in the absence of viral enzymes and other cis-acting elements proves that the plant cellular machinery alone is sufficient to recognize and act on these viral sequences. Our data also show the similarity between mechanisms underlying junction formation in dicot and monocot plants transformed using different procedures.

Citation

Kohli, A.; Griffiths, S.; Palacios, N.; Twyman, R.; Vain, P.; Laurie, D.; Christou, P. Molecular characterization of transforming plasmid rearrangements in transgenic rice reveals a recombination hotspot in the CaMV 35S promoter and confirms the predominance of microhomology mediated recombination. Plant Journal (1999) 17 (6) 591-601. [DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-313X.1999.00399.x]

Molecular characterization of transforming plasmid rearrangements in transgenic rice reveals a recombination hotspot in the CaMV 35S promoter and confirms the predominance of microhomology mediated recombination

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