Plant Pathology Department


Date of this Version



United States Patent Application Publication Pub. No.: US 2008/0131874 A1


It is well documented that transgenes with inverted repeats can efficiently trigger post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS), presumably via a double stranded RNA induced by complementary sequences in their transcripts. We show here that transgenes with intrinsic direct repeats can also induce PTGS at a very high frequency (80-100%). A transgene with three or four repeats induced PTGS in almost 100% of the primary transformants, regardless of whether a strong (en hanced 35S promoter) or a relatively weak (chlorophyll a?b binding protein promoter) promoter was used. The PTGS induced by three or four repeats is consistently inherited in Subsequent generations, and can inactivate homologous genes in trans. Based on the high frequency and consistent heritability, we propose that the intrinsic direct repeat within a transgene may act as a primary determinant of PTGS referred to as direct repeat-induced PTGS (driPTGS). Silencing occurred in all five genes, in this and two previous reports, Suggesting that driPTGS might be a universal gene silencing mechanism both in dicotyledonous tobacco plants and mono cotyledonous rice cells. In addition, driPTGS may help dis sect the gene silencing mechanism and generate silenced phenotypes useful for research and plant biotechnology products.