We have previously shown that SmCP, the gene encoding Solanum melongena cysteine proteinase, is expressed during developmental events associated with programmed cell death (PCD) suggesting its involvement in protein degradation during these events (Xu and Chye, Plant Journal 17 (1999) 321–327). Here, we investigated the regulation of SmCP expression and showed that it is ethylene-inducible and is under circadian control. This circadian rhythm is entrained by light/dark (LD) cycling with peak expression in the late light period, as opposed to that in early light for rbcS, suggesting that protein degradation and photosynthesis are temporally separated by circadian control. Northern blot analysis shows that the pattern of ethylene induction of SmCP is consistent with our previous observation of its significantly increased expression at leaf senescence and fruit ripening when endogenous ethylene is abundant. To further understand SmCP regulation, we have cloned the SmCP promoter and identified a G-box (CACGTG) at −85/−80 by DNase I footprinting analysis of the −221/+17 region. Its specific interaction with nuclear proteins in S. melongena leaves and fruits was confirmed by competitive electrophoretic mobility shift assays using oligonucleotides containing the G-box and mutant derivatives. G-box binding activity was stronger in senescent than young fruits. In circadian-regulated leaves, stronger binding activity coincided with peak circadian expression of SmCP. This correlation between binding activity and expression suggests that G-box binding factors enhance SmCP transcription and that the G-box likely plays a role in circadian regulation of genes affected by LD cycling.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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