Alternative splicing induced by insertion of retrotransposons into the maize waxy gene

Marguerite J. Varagona, Michael Purugganan, Susan R. Wessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The molecular basis for the low level expression of three alleles of the maize waxy (Wx) gene has been described. Each allele contains a retrotransposon in intron sequences. These insertions represent previously undescribed elements their association with three wx alleles indicates that retrotransposon elements are important agents of spontaneous mutation in maize. For each allele, element sequences are spliced from pre-mRNA with the surrounding intron even though the insertions increase intron length by pproximately 40- to 60-fold. In addition, despite deferences in element sequences insertion sites, and relative orientations, each element disrupts long-range splice site recogniton leading to novel Wx transcripts where exons both upstream and downstream of the insertion site are skipped. The expression of wx alleles with large insertions in introns provides support for studies that indicate that the primary cis requirement for maize introns is the splice donor and acceptor sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-820
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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