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PREM-2, a copia-type retroelement in maize is expressed preferentially in early microspores


We have isolated, by screening a genomic library, a retroelement from maize designated PREM-2 (pollen retroelement maize-2), which is expressed in a tissue-specific manner. RNA transcripts of the PREM-2 family are found in the microspore but not in more mature pollen or in any of the vegetative tissues examined. The expression of PREM-2 elements in the uninucleate microspore provides an explanation for the genetic transmission of genomic rearrangements caused by the transposition of retroelements. PREM-2 elements are very abundant and are estimated to constitute about 5% of the maize genome and could possibly have played an important role in the determination of genome structure and in the generation of repetitive sequences in maize. The entire PREM-2 element is 9439 by long. The LTRs of PREM-2 are 1307 by in length. The internal region between the 5′ and 3′ LTRs contains 6825 by and shares homology to the gag, pro, int, RT, and RNaseH regions of copia-type retroelements. PREM-2 elements have been found in close proximity with several maize genes registered in GenBank. The presence of PREM-2 sequence in the exact 5' flanking position of three polygalacturonase genes expressed in pollen, has been used to examine the evolution of the polygalacturonase multigene family in maize and to estimate the time of the PREM-2 integration event.

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Author information

Correspondence to J. P. Mascarenhas.

Additional information

The nucleotide sequence data reported appear in the Genebank, EMBL and DDBJ databases under the accession numbers U41000, U41079 and U41080.

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Turcich, M.P., Bokhari-Riza, A., Hamilton, D.A. et al. PREM-2, a copia-type retroelement in maize is expressed preferentially in early microspores. Sexual Plant Reprod 9, 65–74 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02153053

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Key words

  • Maize
  • Retrotransposon
  • Microspore expression
  • Polygalacturonase genes
  • Genome structure