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The plant MITE mPing is mobilized in anther culture


Transposable elements constitute a large portion of eukaryotic genomes and contribute to their evolution and diversification. Miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs) constitute one of the main groups of transposable elements and are distributed ubiquitously in the genomes of plants and animals1 such as maize2,3,4,5, rice3, Arabidopsis6,7, human8, insect9,10 and nematode11. Because active MITEs have not been identified, the transposition mechanism of MITEs and their accumulation in eukaryotic genomes remain poorly understood. Here we describe a new class of MITE, called miniature Ping (mPing), in the genome of Oryza sativa (rice). mPing elements are activated in cells derived from anther culture, where they are excised efficiently from original sites and reinserted into new loci. An mPing-associated Ping element, which has a putative PIF family5 transposase, is implicated in the recent proliferation of this MITE family in a subspecies of rice.

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Figure 1: Structures and polymorphisms of mPing and mPing-related Ping.
Figure 2: Excision of mPing and Ping.
Figure 3: Transposition of mPing and Ping.

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We thank T. Tanisaka for providing information on Sairyu before publication; T. Fujimura for technical advice on anther culture; S. Iida for critically reading the manuscript; and the Monsanto Rice–Research.Org Program for making available a draft of japonica genomic sequences.

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Correspondence to Hiro-Yuki Hirano.

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Kikuchi, K., Terauchi, K., Wada, M. et al. The plant MITE mPing is mobilized in anther culture. Nature 421, 167–170 (2003).

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