The genus Morus consists of trees and shrubs, which are distributed in temperate and subtropical regions. Commonly known as mulberry, a few of the Morus species are valued for their foliage, which constitutes the chief feed for mulberry silkworms. Steroids and isoprenoid compounds present in the foliage not only add nutritive factors to the feed but also contribute greatly to silkworm health and silk production. Mevalonate synthesis, which is the first step in isoprenoid biosynthesis, is catalyzed by the enzyme hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR). A genomic clone, Mahmg1, was isolated from Morus alba and its expression characterized in mulberry and transgenic tobacco. In mulberry, Mahmg1 transcripts were highest in young leaves and flowers. The promoter region of the Mahmg1 gene was fused to the β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene and the fusion introduced into tobacco. In imbibed embryos, GUS expression was limited to the cotyledons, epicotyl, and root elongation zone. Later, GUS staining was observed in floral tissues, guard cells, and the heads of trichomes on the stem and petioles. Mahmg1::GUS activity increased 3–4-fold by treatment with 100 μM abscisic acid and 15–80-fold in dark-grown versus light-grown seedlings. These results show that expression of the Mahmg1 gene is differentially regulated by developmental and environmental cues, suggesting that its HMGR isozyme a may provide a precursor for synthesis of specific isoprenoids during mulberry growth and development.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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