The large number of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase genes identified to date in plants suggests that their encoded proteins have a wide array of functions in development and physiological responses, as has been indicated by studies on the factors which lead to the activation of these kinases. Signalling pathways involving members of a multigene family employ a variety of mechanisms to ensure response specificity, one of which is via differential gene expression. We have performed detailed analyses of the expression of the tobacco ntf4 MAP kinase gene using a variety of approaches. The ntf4 gene promoter region was isolated and a chimeric ntf4 promoter-GUS fusion construct was introduced into plants. GUS expression was detected in pollen, in developing and mature embryos, and shortly after seed germination, but not in other floral tissues and tissues such as leaf, root, or stem. This expression pattern was confirmed by northern and western analyses. In situ hybridization and immunolocalization studies showed that the expression of the ntf4 gene and its encoded protein p45Ntf4 occurred in embryos at least from the globular embryo stage until the mature seed, as well as in the seed endosperm. Taken together, the results show that the p45Ntf4 MAP kinase has a very restricted expression pattern, being found only in pollen and seeds. These findings should be important when considering MAP kinase function in plants.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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