Molecular analysis of the C1-I allele from Zea mays: a dominant mutant of the regulatory C1 locus

EMBO J. 1990 Feb;9(2):315-21.


The C1 locus of Zea mays (maize) controls the expression of genes involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis in aleurone and scutellar tissue and encodes a protein with the features of a transcriptional activator. C1-I is a dominant negative mutant which inhibits pigment formation. The structure of the C1-I allele was determined by cloning and sequencing of this allele and of two distinct C1-I derived cDNAs. C1-I has two major and several minor sequence differences with respect to the wild-type C1 allele. Transcription initiation occurs at the same position as in wild-type but transcription yields two different products, one major RNA of 1.3 kb and one minor RNA of 1.45 kb in length, encoding two proteins of 252 and 108 amino acids respectively. The longer 252 amino acid C1-I protein differs from the 273 amino acid wild-type C1 protein at several positions but most prominently at its carboxy terminus, resulting in reduced acidity of the C1-I protein. A similar change in acidity of the Gal4 protein of yeast converted this transcriptional activator into a repressor protein. We discuss the dominant phenotype of C1-I with respect to its possible repressor function in contrast to the activator function of the C1 gene product.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Alleles*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / ultrastructure
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Dominant*
  • Genes, Regulator*
  • Genetic Carrier Screening
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation*
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Zea mays / genetics*


  • Repressor Proteins
  • DNA