The homeologous Zea mays gigantea genes: characterization of expression and novel mutant alleles


The two homeologous Zea mays gigantea (gi) genes, gi1 and gi2, arose from the last genome duplication event in the maize lineage. Homologs of these genes in other species are required for correct circadian rhythms and proper regulation of growth and development. Here we characterized the expression of these two maize gi genes. Although gi1 and gi2 shared comparable 24-hour rhythmic expression profiles, gi1 levels were consistently higher than gi2. Furthermore, short day photoperiods repressed gi2 expression. The transcriptional unit for gi1 is established based on 5’-RACE analysis. Two independent mutant alleles for gi1 are described that are caused by transposons of the Mutator (Mu) class inserted into the 5’-end of the gene. The type of Mu element and position of the transposon in gi1 was different for each gi1 allele. Mutant plants had a marked reduction in gi1 expression and carried transcripts interrupted by the Mu element. Together, these results provide a deeper understanding of the gi genes in maize. In addition, the novel gi1 mutant alleles described here will be valuable tools to study gi1 function in maize, as well as the role of circadian clock regulation in maize metabolism, growth, and development.


gigantea; circadian clock; photoperiod; Mutator; maize

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Maydica - A journal devoted to maize and allied species

ISSN: 2279-8013