An 808 bp promoter from a rice polyubiquitin gene, rubi3, has been isolated. The rubi3 gene contained an open reading frame of 1140 bp encoding a pentameric polyubiquitin arranged as five tandem, head-to-tail repeats of 76 aa. The 1140 bp 5′ UTR intron of the gene enhanced its promoter activity in transient expression assays by 20-fold. Translational fusion of the GUS reporter gene to the coding sequence of the ubiquitin monomer enhanced GUS enzyme activity in transient expression assays by 4.3-fold over the construct containing the original rubi3 promoter (including the 5′ UTR intron) construct. The enhancing effect residing in the ubiquitin monomer coding sequence has been narrowed down to the first 9 nt coding for the first three amino acid residues of the ubiquitin protein. Mutagenesis at the third nucleotide of this 9 nt sequence still maintains the enhancing effect, but leads to translation of the native GUS protein rather than a fusion protein. The resultant 5′ regulatory sequence, consisting of the rubi3 promoter, 5′ UTR exon and intron, and the mutated first 9 nt coding sequence, has an activity nearly 90-fold greater than the rubi3 promoter only (without the 5′ UTR intron), and 2.2-fold greater than the maize Ubi1 gene promoter (including its 5′ UTR intron). The newly created expression vector is expected to enhance transgene expression in monocot plants. Considering the high conservation of the polyubiquitin gene structure in higher plants, the observed enhancement in gene expression may apply to 5′ regulatory sequences of other plant polyubiquitin genes.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2005
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