Developmental and tissue-specific expression of CaMV 35S promoter in cotton as revealed by GFP

Research paper by Ganesan Sunilkumar, LeAnne Mohr, Emily Lopata-Finch, Chandrakanth Emani, Keerti S. Rathore

Indexed on: 01 Oct '02Published on: 01 Oct '02Published in: Plant Molecular Biology


The CaMV 35S promoter is the most commonly used promoter for driving transgene expression in plants. Though it is presumed to be a constitutive promoter, some reports suggest that it is not expressed in all cell types. In addition, the information available on its expression profile in all possible cell and tissue types and during early stages of development is incomplete. We present here a detailed expression profile of this promoter investigated using the green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene as a reporter system in cotton during embryo development, and in all the vegetative and floral cell and tissue types. GFP expression was not detected during the early stages of embryogenesis. The first perceptible GFP expression was observed in a small area at the junction of hypocotyl and cotyledons in embryos at around 13 days after anthesis. The GFP fluorescence progressively became stronger and expanded throughout the cotyledon and hypocotyl as embryo development advanced. After germination, varying levels of promoter activity were observed in all cell and tissue types in the hypocotyl, cotyledon, stem, leaf, petiole, and root. The promoter was also expressed in all floral parts. Although cotton pollen exhibited a low level of greenish autofluorescence, it was possible to discern GFP-dependent fluorescence in some of the pollen from all the T0 plants examined. Developing cotton fibers also exhibited GFP fluorescence suggesting that the 35S promoter was active in these specialized epidermal cells. Thus, we show that the expression of the 35S promoter was developmentally regulated during embryogenesis and that beyond a certain stage during embryogenesis, the promoter was expressed in most cell and tissue types in cotton albeit at different levels.