Functional analysis of a barley high-pI alpha-amylase gene promoter has identified a gibberellin (GA) response complex in the region between -174 and -108. The sequence of the central element, TAACAAA, is very similar to the c-Myb and v-Myb consensus binding site. We investigated the possibility that a GA-regulated Myb transactivates alpha-amylase gene expression in barley aleurone cells. A cDNA clone, GAmyb, which encodes a novel Myb, was isolated from a barley aleurone cDNA library. RNA blot analysis revealed that GAmyb expression in isolated barley aleurone layers is up-regulated by GA. The kinetics of GAmyb expression indicates that it is an early event in GA-regulated gene expression and precedes alpha-amylase gene expression. Cycloheximide blocked alpha-amylase gene expression but failed to block GAmyb gene expression, indicating that protein synthesis is not required for GAmyb gene expression. Gel mobility shift experiments with recombinant GAMyb showed that GAMyb binds specifically to the TAACAAA box in vitro. We demonstrated in transient expression experiments that GAMyb activates transcription of a high-pI alpha-amylase promoter fused to a beta-glucuronidase reporter gene in the absence of GA. Our results indicate that the GAMyb is the sole GA-regulated transcription factor required for transcriptional activation of the high-pI alpha-amylase promoter. We therefore postulate that GAMyb is a part of the GA-response pathway leading to alpha-amylase gene expression in aleurone cells.
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