A maize MuDR transposon promoter shows limited autoregulation

Mol Genet Genomics. 2001 Mar;265(1):82-94. doi: 10.1007/s004380000393.


Transgenic maize expressing luciferase under the control of the mudrB terminal inverted repeat promoter (TIRB) of the MuDR transposon was assayed for transgene expression in active and inactive Mutator lines. We find that active MuDR elements increase TIRB-luciferase expression by 2- to 10-fold, relative to nonMuDR or silenced MuDR lines, in embryonic leaves in 75% of plants tested. However, this increase does not persist in juvenile and adult leaves. In pollen, TIRB-luciferase expression is up to 100-fold higher than in leaves but is unaffected by the presence or absence of active MuDR. Because the MuRA transposase binds to a motif within TIRB, we hypothesize that MURA may act as a weak transcriptional activator of TIRB or may partly inhibit host-induced silencing of TIRB in active Mutator lines during the early stages of somatic growth. Our results contrast with those for the maize transposon Spm, in which the TNPA transposase acts as a repressor of the Spm promoter in active Spm lines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • DNA, Plant / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • Luciferases / metabolism
  • Methylation
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Pollen / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Protein Binding
  • Terminal Repeat Sequences
  • Transposases / metabolism
  • Zea mays / genetics*
  • Zea mays / metabolism


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Plant
  • Luciferases
  • Transposases