The conserved late element (CLE) was originally identified as an evolutionarily conserved DNA sequence present in geminiviral intergenic regions. CLE has subsequently been observed in promoter sequences of bacterial (T-DNA) and plant origin, suggesting a role in plant and plant viral gene regulation. Synthetic DNA cassettes harboring direct repeats of the CLE motif were placed upstream from a −46 to +1 minimal CaMV 35S promoter-luciferase reporter gene and reporter activity characterized in Nicotiana species during both transient and stable expression. A single direct-repeat cassette of the element (2× CLE) enhances luciferase activity by 2-fold, independent of the element’s orientation, while multiple copies of the cassette (4–12× CLE) increases activity up to 10- to 15-fold in an additive manner. Transgenic tobacco lines containing synthetic CLE promoter constructs enhance luciferase expression in leaf, cotyledon and stem tissues, but to a lesser extent in roots. Single nucleotide substitution at six of eight positions within the CLE consensus (GTGGTCCC) eliminates CLE enhancer-like activity. It has been previously reported that CLE interacts with the AC2 protein from Pepper Huasteco Virus (PHV-AC2). PHV-AC2 (also called AL2 or C2) is a member of the transcriptional activator protein, or TrAP, gene family. In transient and stable expression systems PHV-AC2 expression was found to result in a 2-fold increase in luciferase activity, irrespective of the presence of CLE consensus sequences within the reporter’s promoter. These data suggests that the PHV-AC2 protein, instead of interacting directly with CLE, functions as either a general transcriptional activator and/or a suppressor of post-transcriptional gene silencing.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 28, 2005
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