In this paper we have studied the localisation of expression of the two functional cytosolic glutamine synthetase (GS) genes, MtGSa and MtGSb, in root nodules of the model legume Medicago truncatula. We have used a combination of different techniques, including immunocytochemistry, in situ hybridisation and promoter β-glucuronidase (GUS) fusions in transgenic plants, to provide the means of correlating gene expression with protein localisation. These studies revealed that transcriptional regulation (mRNA synthesis) plays an important part in controlling GS protein levels in nodules of M. truncatula. The major locations of cytosolic GS mRNA and protein are the central tissue, the parenchyma and the pericycle of the vascular bundles. These findings indicate that in nodules, GS might be involved in other physiological processes in addition to the primary assimilation of ammonia released by the bacterial nitrogenase. The two genes show different but overlapping patterns of expression with MtGSa being the major gene expressed in the infected cells of the nodule. Promoter fragments of 2.6 kb and 3.1 kb of MtGSa and MtGSb, respectively, have been sequenced and primer extension revealed that the MtGSb promoter is expressed in nodules from an additional start site that is not used in roots. Generally these fragments in the homologous transgenic system were sufficient to drive GUS expression in almost all the tissues and cell types where GS proteins and transcripts are located except that the MtGSa promoter fragment did not express GUS highly in the nodule infected cells. These results indicate that the cis-acting regulatory elements responsible for infected-cell expression are missing from the MtGSa promoter fragment.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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