Spacer length-dependent protection of specific activity of pollen and/or embryo promoters from influence of CaMV 35S promoter/enhancer in transgenic plants

Research paper by Martin Jopcik, Jana Moravcikova, Ildiko Matusikova, Jana Libantova

Indexed on: 07 May '14Published on: 07 May '14Published in: Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture (PCTOC)


The influence of the CaMV 35S promoter/enhancer on expression profiles of four Arabidopsis thaliana pollen- and/or embryo-specific promoters, APRS, ESL, MXL, and DLL, was tested in transgenic tobacco plants. Individual promoters were fused to the gus reporter gene and cloned in head-to-head orientation with the CaMV 35S:hpt expression unit within the same T-DNA. With the exception of the TATA-less promoter DLL, all other combinations generated interactions between the promoter under investigation and 35S promoter/enhancer resulting in ectopic β-glucuronidase (GUS) expression in vegetative organs and tissues, the most susceptible being the stem, followed by callus, leaf, and root. To eliminate this crosstalk, DNA spacers of length 1, 2 and 5 kb were cloned between the interacting sequences. Ectopic GUS staining was dependent on the affected promoter as well as the distance between the 5′-end of the CaMV 35S promoter and the reporter gene translation start site. When this distance was less than 1 kb strong ectopic GUS staining was observed in all vegetative tissues, similar to the CaMV35S:gus expression profile in transgenic tobacco plants. Insertion of spacer DNA sequences of increasing length resulted in gradual reduction of ectopic GUS staining in tested plants. Of the tissues and organs related to plant reproduction, only anthers and seed coats in the early stages of seed development showed ectopic GUS staining. Developing pollen and embryos showed a pattern of GUS activity consistent with the predicted role of a developmental stage-specific promoter in transgenic tobacco plants.