To examine the genetic controls of endosperm (ES) specificity, several cereal seed storage protein (SSP) promoters were isolated and studied using a transient expression analysis system. An oat globulin promoter (AsGlo1) capable of driving strong ES-specific expression in barley and wheat was identified. Progressive 5′ deletions and cis element mutations demonstrated that the mechanism of specificity in the AsGlo1 promoter was distinct from that observed in glutelin and prolamin promoters. A novel interrupted palindromic sequence, ACATGTCATCATGT, was required for ES specificity and substantially contributed to expression strength of the␣AsGlo1 promoter. This sequence was termed the endosperm specificity palindrome (ESP) element. The GCN4 element, which has previously been shown to be required for ES specificity in cereal SSP promoters, had a quantitative role but was not required for tissue specificity. The 960-bp AsGlo1 promoter and a 251-bp deletion containing the ESP element also drove ES-specific expression in stably transformed barley. Reporter gene protein accumulated at very high levels (10% of total soluble protein) in ES tissues of plants transformed with an AsGlo1:GFP construct. Expression strength and tissue specificity were maintained over five transgenic generations. These attributes make the AsGlo1 promoter an ideal promoter for biotechnology applications. In conjunction with previous findings, our data demonstrate that there is more than one genetically distinct mechanism by which ES specificity can be achieved in cereal SSP promoters, and also suggest that there is redundancy between transcriptional and post-transcriptional tissue specificity mechanisms in cereal globulin genes.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 17, 2006
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