DNA Methylation and Activity of the Maize Spm Transposable Element

  • N. V. Fedoroff
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 197)


Maize transposons were the first plant genes known to undergo reversible heritable inactivation. Early in the study of the Suppressor-mutator (Spm) trans-posable element McClintock recognized that certain isolates of the element either cycled between inactive and active phases during development or underwent an inactivation event of longer duration and sufficient stability to be heritable, but which was nonetheless occasionally reversed (McClintock 1957, 1958). In subsequent studies, McClintock developed a deeper understanding of the ways in which the Spm element alternated between active and inactive phases (McClintock 1959, 1961, 1962, 1971). She later reported that theActivator element is also subject to a similar type of reversible inactivation, although the she did not study the Activator element’s inactivation mechanism in as great detail as that of Spm (McClintock 1964, 1965a,b).


Transposable Element Promoter Methylation Carnegie Inst Inactive Phase Mutator Element 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. V. Fedoroff
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EmbryologyCarnegie Institution of WashingtonBaltimoreUSA

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