Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 91, Issue 4–5, pp 549–561 | Cite as

Reduced function of the RNA-binding protein FPA rescues a T-DNA insertion mutant in the Arabidopsis ZHOUPI gene by promoting transcriptional read-through



T-DNA insertion mutants have been widely used to investigate plant gene functions. Unexpectedly, in several reported cases, the phenotype of T-DNA insertion mutations can be suppressed because of trans T-DNA interactions associated with epigenetic modification, which indicates that caution is needed when T-DNA mutants are used. In the present study, we characterized a novel process suppressing a T-DNA mutation. The spz2 (suppressor of zou 2) mutant was isolated as a suppressor of the phenotype of the zou-4 mutant caused by a T-DNA insertion in the first intron. The spz2 mutation partially recovered the native ZOU gene expression in the zou-4 background, but not in two other zou alleles, zou-2 and zou-3, with T-DNAs inserted in the exon and intron, respectively. The suppressed phenotype was inherited in a Mendelian fashion and is not associated with epigenetic modification. The recovery of the native ZOU gene expression in the spz2 zou-4 double mutant is caused by transcriptional read-through of the intronic T-DNA as a result of decreased proximal polyadenylation. SPZ2 encodes an RNA-binding protein, FPA, which is known to regulate polyadenylation site selection. This is the first example of FPA rescuing a T-DNA insertion mutation by affecting the polyadenylation site selection.


Arabidopsis spz2 ZOU FPA Alternative polyadenylation T-DNA suppression 

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1702 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Plant Stress Research, College of Life ScienceShandong Normal UniversityJinanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Soybean Molecular Design Breeding, Northeast Institute of Geography and AgroecologyChinese Academy of SciencesChangchunPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Institute of Molecular Plant SciencesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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