Deletion analysis of a zein gene promoter in transgenic tobacco plants

Research paper by A. J. M. Matzke, E. M. Stöger, J. P. Schernthaner, M. A. Matzke

Indexed on: 01 Mar '90Published on: 01 Mar '90Published in: Plant Molecular Biology


A zein gene (Z4) promoter containing 886 bp upstream from the transcription start site has been shown previously to be active specifically in the endosperm of transgenic tobacco seeds. To investigate the region required for this tissue-specific activity, deletions of the Z4 promoter were constructed and placed upstream of the β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene. When these deletions were tested in transgenic tobacco plants, seed-specific GUS activity, which reached a peak between 15 and 19 DAP, was observed for promoters extending from −886 to −174. Interestingly, the 174 bp promoter lacked the complete 15 bp consensus sequence found in the same position in all zein genes so far sequenced. With the next shorter promoter in the deletion series (79 bp), which just included the CAAT and TATA elements, negligible GUS activity was observed in seeds. The results demonstrated that 174 bp upstream of the transcription start site are sufficient for tissue-specific and temporally regulated activity of the Z4 promoter in tobacco. At most, two-fold enhanced activity was observed with additional 5′ sequences up to −886.