Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 329–347 | Cite as

A barley activation tagging system

  • Michael A. AyliffeEmail author
  • Margaret Pallotta
  • Peter Langridge
  • Anthony J. Pryor


Activation tagging, as the result of random genomic insertion of either promoter or enhancer sequences, can produce novel, dominant mutations by over-expression of endogenous genes. This powerful genomics tool has been used extensively in dicot species such as Arabidopsis, while rice is the only cereal for which an equivalent system exists. In this study we describe an activation tagging system in barley based upon the maize Ac/Ds transposable element system. A modified Ds element (UbiDs) containing two maize polyubiquitin promoters, transposed in families derived from multiple independent UbiDs transformants and generated new Ds insertion events at frequencies ranging from 0% to 52% per family. The majority of transposed UbiDs elements activated high levels of adjacent flanking sequence transcription. Transposon-mediated expression was detected in all barley cell and tissue types analysed suggesting that this system is applicable to all aspects of plant development and biogenesis. In addition to transcriptional activation, this system is also capable of generating insertional knockout mutants and a UbiDs inactivated allele of the granule bound starch synthase I gene (waxy) was recovered that lead to reduced amylose accumulation. The recovery and analysis of dominant over-expression phenotypes generated by this system will provide a novel approach to understanding gene function in large cereal genomes where gene redundancy may mask conventional loss-of-function mutations.


Activation tagging Barley Mutagenesis Overexpression Transposon 



We wish to thank Pat Atkinson, Lejla Buza, Luch Hac, Craig Jackson, Kim Newell, Terese Richardson and Libby Viccars for technical support, Celia Miller and Dr Rosemary White for microscopy assistance, Patricia Warner for flanking sequence isolation and Dr Narayana Upadhyaya for providing pUR224NA and a Ubi-transposase clone. This work was financially supported, in part, by the Grains Research and Development Corporation as part of the Australian Cereal Rust Control Program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Ayliffe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Margaret Pallotta
    • 2
  • Peter Langridge
    • 2
  • Anthony J. Pryor
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Plant IndustryCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Australian Centre for Plant Functional GenomicsPlant Genomics CentreUrrbraeAustralia

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