Structural domains and matrix attachment regions along colinear chromosomal segments of maize and sorghum

Alexander P. Tikhonov, Jeffrey L. Bennetzen, Zoya V. Avramova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Although a gene's location can greatly influence its expression, genome sequencing has shown that orthologous genes may exist in very different environments in the genomes of closely related species. Four genes in the maize alcohol dehydrogenase (adh1) region represent solitary genes dispersed among large repetitive blocks, whereas the orthologous genes in sorghum are located in a different setting surrounded by low-copy-number DNAs. A Specific class of DNA sequences, matrix attachment regions (MARs), was found to be in comparable positions in the two species, often flanking individual genes. If these MARs define structural domains, then the orthologous genes in maize and sorghum should experience similar chromatin environments. In addition, MARs were divided into two groups, based on the competitive affinity of their association with the matrix. The 'durable' MARs retained matrix associations at the highest concentrations of competitor DNA. Most of the durable MARs mapped outside genes, defining the borders of putative chromatin loops. The 'unstable' MARs lost their association with the matrix under similar competitor conditions and mapped mainly within introns. These results suggest that MARs possess both domain-defining and regulatory roles. Miniature inverted repeat transposable elements (MITEs) often were found on the same fragments as the MARs. Our studies showed that many MITEs can bind to isolated nuclear matrices, suggesting that MITEs may function as MARs in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-264
Number of pages16
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Structural domains and matrix attachment regions along colinear chromosomal segments of maize and sorghum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this