Selection and orientation of adjacent genes influences DAM-mediated male sterility in transformed maize

Transgenic Res. 2001 Oct;10(5):409-22. doi: 10.1023/a:1012032000383.


Anther-targeted expression of E. coli DNA (Adenosine-N6-)-Methyltransferase (DAM) in maize was tested as a means to produce male-sterile plants. A high frequency of male-sterile plants with reduced anther size was observed when DAM was regulated by the maize anther-specific promoter 5126 (5126:DAM) and placed upstream of the herbicide resistance gene, pat, regulated by the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S promoter (35S:PAT). In contrast, placement of 5126:DAM upstream of a pat gene regulated by either the maize ubiquitin (UBI:PAT) or rice actin (rACTIN:PAT) promoters resulted in male-fertile plants. Based on these observed differences, DAM-mediated sterility was used as a phenotypic marker to assess the contribution of factors affecting gene expression such as orientation of the transcription units, choice of regulatory sequences mediating expression of adjacent genes, and effects of varying the anther-specific promoter regulating DAM. Constructs that place a portion of the CaMV 35S promoter, including the native AS-1 sequences, between 5126:DAM and UBI:PAT yielded a high frequency of male-sterile plants with reduced anther size. Significant differences in the frequency of male-sterile events and the associated anther size were also observed when the position of 35S:PAT was changed relative to 5126:DAM. These data provide evidence that gene expression in transformed maize plants can be impacted by simply altering the order, orientation or regulatory sequences of adjacent genes.

MeSH terms

  • Acetyltransferases / genetics*
  • Actins / genetics
  • Biomarkers
  • Caulimovirus / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Gene Order
  • Genes, Plant
  • Molecular Biology / methods
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phenotype
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Site-Specific DNA-Methyltransferase (Adenine-Specific) / genetics*
  • Spores / genetics
  • Transformation, Genetic
  • Ubiquitin / genetics
  • Zea mays / genetics*
  • Zea mays / physiology*


  • Actins
  • Biomarkers
  • Ubiquitin
  • Site-Specific DNA-Methyltransferase (Adenine-Specific)
  • Acetyltransferases
  • phosphinothricin N-acetyltransferase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/A02774
  • GENBANK/A80078
  • GENBANK/I75226
  • GENBANK/S94464