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Expression of an amino acid biosynthesis gene in tomato flowers: developmental upregulation and MeJa response are parenchyma-specific and mutually compatible

Samach, A., Broday, L., Hareven, D., Lifschitz, E.
The plant journal 1995 v.8 no.3 pp. 391-406
Solanum lycopersicum var. lycopersicum, hydro-lyases, chromosome mapping, recombinant DNA, gene transfer, Solanum tuberosum, regulatory sequences, plant development, gene expression, parenchyma, leaves, flowers, jasmonic acid, ultrastructure, enzyme activity, threonine, defense mechanisms, methyl jasmonate
The gene coding for threonine deaminase (TD), the enzyme which catalyzes the first committed step in the biosynthesis of isoleucine, was isolated from tomato as a consequence of its unusual 500-fold upregulation in floral organs. It was subsequently shown that TD is induced in potato leaves in response to wounding, abscisic acid and methyl jasmonate (MeJa). Detailed analysis presented here, reveals an intricate developmental regulation pattern of gene expression in flowers that is operating solely in parenchyma territories. Yet, despite its high pre-existing expression level, TD in flowers can be further induced by MeJa. Induction of TD in flowers as well as in leaves is effective only in the parenchyma domains, irrespective of the prior expression levels. TD is neither expressed nor induced in epidermal, vascular or sporogenous tissues. Promoter analysis in transgenic tomato plants indicates that induction of TD follows identical kinetics in flowers and leaves. Furthermore, the 'conditioning' of developmental upregulation in flowers, the response to MeJa in flowers and leaves, and the parenchyma-specific expression are all mediated by the cis-elements within the proximal 192 bp of the promoter. Promoter elements regulating the correct organ-specific expression are located, however, further upstream. The promoter constructs used in this study can serve as useful tools for expressing extremely high levels of transgenes in specific cells. A scheme explaining tissue-specific response to MeJa, in conjunction with developmental control, is discussed.