The promoters of the Arabidopsis ( Arabidopsis thaliana ) cytochrome c genes, Cytc-1 and Cytc-2 , were analyzed using plants transformed with fusions to the β -glucuronidase coding sequence. Histochemical staining of plants indicated that the Cytc-1 promoter directs preferential expression in root and shoot meristems and in anthers. In turn, plants transformed with the Cytc-2 promoter fusions showed preferential expression in vascular tissues of cotyledons, leaves, roots, and hypocotyls, and also in anthers. Quantitative measurements in extracts prepared from different organs suggested that expression of Cytc-1 is higher in flowers, while that of Cytc-2 is higher in leaves. The analysis of a set of deletions and site-directed mutants of the Cytc-1 promoter indicated that a segment located between −147 and −156 from the translation start site is required for expression and that site II elements (TGGGCC/T) located in this region, coupled with a downstream internal telomeric repeat (AAACCCTAA), are responsible for the expression pattern of this gene. Proteins present in cauliflower nuclear extracts, as well as a recombinant protein from the TCP-domain family, were able to specifically bind to the region required for expression. We propose that expression of the Cytc-1 gene is linked to cell proliferation through the elements described above. The fact that closely located site II motifs are present in similar locations in several genes encoding proteins involved in cytochrome c -dependent respiration suggests that these elements may be the target of factors that coordinate the expression of nuclear genes encoding components of this part of the mitochondrial respiratory chain.
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