BMC Research Notes (2018-07-01)

Effect of transcription terminator usage on the establishment of transgene transcriptional gene silencing

  • Ana Pérez-González,
  • Elena Caro

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 1
pp. 1 – 8


Read online

Abstract Objective Obtaining high and stable transgene expression is of vital importance for plant genetic engineering. A lot is known about the relationship between terminator efficiency and gene expression, but no studies have addressed the relationship between terminator usage and transgene expression stability or heritable gene silencing. In this paper, we aim to analyze if terminators are a determining factor in the establishment of promoter DNA methylation of plant transgenes. Results Our experiments comparing plants with a LUC reporter under the 35S CaMV promoter and good efficiency terminators (Thsp, T35S) show that the use of efficient terminator sequences does not avoid the accumulation of promoter DNA methylation and transgene silencing. However, Thsp lead to a higher reporter gene expression and lower promoter DNA methylation levels than T35S, supporting that terminator usage is indeed involved in the establishment of TGS by methylation of transgenes’ promoters. In the case of a terminatorless construct, the PTGS initiated by the improperly terminated mRNAs is not followed by the establishment of heritable silencing in the form of strong promoter DNA methylation, like in the case of TAS genes and reactivated TEs (for the transgene DNA methylation levels remained below the 20%).