A highly active synthetic auxin response element (AuxRE), referred to as DR5, was created by performing site-directed mutations in a natural composite AuxRE found in the soybean GH3 promoter. DR5 consisted of tandem direct repeats of 11 bp that included the auxin-responsive TGTCTC element. The DR5 AuxRE showed greater auxin responsiveness than a natural composite AuxRE and the GH3 promoter when assayed by transient expression in carrot protoplasts or in stably transformed Arabidopsis seedlings, and it provides a useful reporter gene for studying auxin-responsive transcription in wild-type plants and mutants. An auxin response transcription factor, ARF1, bound with specificity to the DR5 AuxRE in vitro and interacted with Aux/IAA proteins in a yeast two-hybrid system. Cotransfection experiments with natural and synthetic AuxRE reporter genes and effector genes encoding Aux/IAA proteins showed that overexpression of Aux/IAA proteins in carrot protoplasts resulted in specific repression of TGTCTC AuxRE reporter gene expression.
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