The behaviour of the autonomous maize transposable element En/Spm in Arabidopsis thaliana allows efficient mutagenesis

Plant Mol Biol. 1998 Aug;37(6):989-99. doi: 10.1023/a:1006082009151.


The behavior of the autonomous maize transposable element En/Spm of maize was studied in Arabidopsis. Transgenic Arabidopsis plants carrying En-1 elements were propagated for 12 generations using a single seed descent procedure. The distribution and activity of the En-1 element was monitored using Southern DNA hybridisations in generations 1, 6 and 12. In the first generation the highest number of En-1 insertions per line was 7, which increased to 20 in generation 12. The average number of En-1 insertions increased only slightly in the population, due to a gradual accumulation of segregants that lost the transposable element. During the development of the En-1 mutagenised population the element remained active even in the high-copy lines. In situ hybridisation demonstrated that multiple En-1 insertions were distributed over all Arabidopsis chromosomes. From the initial En-1 mutagenised populations many unstable gene mutations were recovered, indicating that En-1 can be used as a efficient tool for gene tagging in Arabidopsis.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Chromosomes
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Zea mays / genetics*


  • DNA Transposable Elements