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DNA methylation and Dc8-GUS transgene expression in carrot (Daucus carota L.)

Zhou, Y., Magill, J.M., Magill, C.W., Newton, R.J.
Plant cell reports 1996 v.15 no.11 pp. 815-818
Daucus carota, DNA methylation, transgenic plants, gene expression, genes, gene transfer, chimerism, beta-glucuronidase, enzyme activity, cytidine, abscisic acid, dose response, quantitative analysis
DNA methylation has been associated with gene activity in differentiating and developing plant tissues. The objective of this study was to determine the involvement of methylation in the expression of a gene transferred into carrot (Daucus carota L.) tissues by particle bombardment. Expression of the Dc8-GUS gene construct in response to treatments with 5-azacytidine (5-azaC) and to in vitro methylation by methylases was investigated by histochemical assay of GUS activity. The 5-azaC treatment increased the frequency of Dc8-driven GUS expression in both calli and somatic embryos. The increase occurred with treatment either to E. coli containing the plasmid invert or to the carrot tissues before bombardment. GUS expression, increased by the 5-azaC treatment, was enhanced by ABA treatment of both calli and somatic embryos and was more prominent in the latter. Increased digestion of the 5-azaC-treated plasmid DNA with EcoRII suggested that demethylation had occurred. In vitro methylation of Dc8-GUS by methylases generally resulted in a lower frequency of GUS expression. SssI methylase completely inhibited GUS expression. The level of GUS expression was correlated with the extent of methylation of the plasmid.