Transposition of the rice miniature inverted repeat transposable element mPing in Arabidopsis thaliana

Guojun Yang, Feng Zhang, C. Nathan Hancock, Susan R. Wessler

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85 Scopus citations


An active miniature inverted repeat transposable element (MITE), mPing, was discovered by computer-assisted analysis of rice genome sequence. The mPing element is mobile in rice cell culture and in a few rice strains where it has been amplified to >1,000 copies during recent domestication. However, determination of the transposase source and characterization of the mechanism of transposition have been hampered by the high copy number of mPing and the presence of several candidate autonomous elements in the rice genome. Here, we report that mPing is active in Arabidopsis thaliana, where its transposition is catalyzed by three sources of transposase from rice: the autonomous Ping and Pong elements and by a cDNA derived from a Ping transcript. In addition to transposase, the product of a second element-encoded ORF of unknown function is also required for mPing transposition. Excision of mPing in A. thaliana is usually precise, and transposed copies usually insert into unlinked sites in the genome that are preferentially in or near genes. As such, this will be a valuable assay system for the dissection of MITE transposition and a potentially powerful tagging system for gene discovery in eukaryotes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10962-10967
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 26 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomous element
  • PIF/Harbinger
  • Transgenic


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