, Volume 271, Issue 3, pp 308-316

Isolation and characterization of genomic and transcribed retrotransposon sequences from sorghum

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Abstract

Reverse transcriptase sequences from both major classes of retrotransposons were amplified from sorghum genomic DNA, leaf mRNA and callus protoplast mRNA. Sequence analysis of clones derived from genomic DNA demonstrated the presence of a wide variety of copia-like and gypsy-like elements. Twenty-four families of copia-like elements were found, of which at least thirteen were expressed in callus protoplasts. Two families (containing forty-eight subfamilies) of gypsy-like elements were discovered, both closely related to Huck of maize. At least twenty-seven of these subfamilies were expressed in callus protoplasts. Most of these elements were expressed at high levels in protoplasts derived from embryogenic callus, but expression of only a few was detected (at low levels) in leaves. Sequence divergence within individual families was quite high, and all relatedness profiles were consistent with vertical transmission of these elements. These data indicate that sorghum contains a large number and diversity of retrotransposons, and that some may be useful as transposon tagging systems in callus protoplasts.

Communicated by M.-A. Grandbastien