Nicotine biosynthesis in Nicotiana tabacum is under genetic control by the A and B loci. Plants containing semi-dominant mutations at both the A and B loci (i.e. aabb genotype) have lower nicotine levels, reduced nicotine biosynthetic enzyme activities, and reduced mRNA levels of the corresponding biosynthetic genes. The A and B loci therefore appear to be coordinate regulators of several nicotine biosynthetic genes and define a group of co-regulated genes called the A–B regulon. To investigate the composition of genes in the A–B regulon, a fluorescent differential display (FDD) screen was used to randomly sample the transcriptomes of wild type and mutant aabb roots. This resulted in the isolation of 64 FDD clones, representing 49 unique genes or gene families. Four genes associated with nicotine biosynthesis were identified, whereas most of the other FDD clones were homologous with an assortment of stress response genes. Thirty-three genes or gene families showed reproducible aabb genotype effects, representing seven distinct mRNA expression patterns in response media treatments that increase the mRNA levels of known alkaloid biosynthetic genes. Thus, the A and B loci regulate the mRNA levels of some target genes differently than others. Eleven genes or gene families showed only treatment-specific effects, representing four mRNA accumulation patterns. These results indicate the A–B regulon is complex network of differentially expressed stress response genes, only a small subset of which are involved in nicotine biosynthesis.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 29, 2005
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