, Volume 248, Issue 5, pp 527-534

The binding motifs forAc transposase are absolutely required for excision ofDs1 in maize

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A reverse genetic system for studying excision of the transposable elementDs1 in maize plants has been established previously. In this system, theDs1 element, as part of the genome of maize streak virus (MSV), is introduced into maize plants via agroinfection. In the presence of theAc element, excision ofDs1 from the MSV genome results in the appearance of viral symptoms on the maize plants. Here, we used this system to study DNA sequences requiredin cis for excision ofDs1. TheDs1 element contains theAc transposase binding motif AAACGG in only one of its subterminal regions (defined here as the 5′ subterminal region). We showed that mutation of these motifs abolished completely the excision capacity ofDs1. This is the first direct demonstration that the transposase binding motifs are essential for excision. Mutagenesis with oligonucleotide insertions in the other (3′) subterminal region resulted in elements with either a reduced or an increased excision efficiency, indicating that this subterminal region also has an important function.

Communicated by H. Saedler