The stability of transgene expression and effect of DNA methylation on post transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) in birch
In this paper, we selected transgenic birch (Betula platyphylla Suk) plants, which included nonsilencing plants, transcriptional silence plants including TP96, TP74, TP73 and the post-transcriptional silence ones (TP67 and TP72). The transcription of the bgt gene in different tissues and organs were significantly different. The transcriptional level of bgt gene in the different tissues and organs was in the following order: leaf > female flower and male flower > branch bark > phloem > root. The transgenic lines were monitored for foreign gene expression for a long-term period of 8 years during their continuous growth under field conditions. GUS protein expression was not reactivated in the transgene silencing lines TP72 and TP67 when cultured in field conditions for long-term period. Meanwhile, no cases of gene silencing were observed again during the study period in the field conditions. Our results suggest that transgene expression in transgenic birch plants appears to be stable under field conditions. The frequencies of methylated cytosines in the code regions of gus gene was studied. Relation of transgene expression and DNA methylation was analysed. The data of restriction enzyme digestion (HpaII and MspI) indicated that DNA methylation resulted in post transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) in transgenic birch.
Key words: Transgenic birch, DNA methylation, gene silencing.