Genetic analysis of RNA-mediated gene silencing in Arabidopsis thaliana

Andreas Finke, Michael Florian Mette, Markus Kuhlmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In plants, a particular class of small non-coding RNAs, short interfering RNAs, can serve as a signal to induce cytosine methylation at homologous genomic DNA regions in the nucleus. If the targeted DNA regions have promoter function, this RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) can result in transcriptional gene silencing (TGS). RNA-directed transcriptional gene silencing of transgenes provides a versatile system for the study of epigenetic gene regulation in plants. In our experimental setup in Arabidopsis thaliana, transcription of a promoter-inverted repeat provides a RNA signal that triggers de novo cytosine methylation and TGS of a homologous nopaline synthase promoter (proNOS) in trans. Utilising this two component transgene system in a forward-genetic screen for "suppressor of silencing" mutations, we were able to identify new candidates for factors involved in RdDM of transgenic as well as endogenous target regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalJournal fur Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We thank Christa Fricke, Inge Glaser and Beate Kamm for excellent technical assistance. This work received support from IPK Gatersleben (to A.F.) and the German Research Foundation (DFG) collaborative research centre (SFB) 648 ‘‘Molecular Mechanisms of Information Processing in Plants’’ (to M.K.).


  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Mutagenesis
  • NOS promoter
  • RNA-dependent DNA methylation
  • Transcriptional gene silencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Food Animals
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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