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Regulation of a carotenoid biosynthesis gene promoter during plant development

Corona, V., Aracri, B., Kosturkova, G., Bartley, G.E., Pitto, L., Giorgetti, L., Scolnik, P.A., Giuliano, G.
The plant journal 1996 v.9 no.4 pp. 505-512
Solanum lycopersicum var. lycopersicum, Nicotiana tabacum, carotenoids, chloroplasts, plastids, flowers, biosynthesis, transgenic plants, beta-glucuronidase, corolla, anthers, ripening, gene expression, seedlings, nucleotide sequences, promoter regions, chromoplasts, histochemistry
Carotenoids are terpenoid pigments which are accumulated in the chloroplasts of leaves and in the chromoplasts of many flowers and fruits. Phytoene desaturase (Pds), the second dedicated enzyme in carotenoid biosynthesis, is encoded in tomato by a single copy gene. A 2 kb fragment from the tomato Pds gene, comprising 1.5 kb from the promoter and 0.5 kb from the 5' non-translated region, is able to drive developmentally regulated expression of the GUS reporter gene in transgenic tomato and tobacco plants. In tomato, high levels of Pds/GUS expression are found in organs and at stages of development where chromoplasts are formed: petals, anthers and ripening fruits. Tobacco petals and fruits, which do not contain chromoplasts, show instead low levels of Pds/ GUS expression. Transgenic tobacco seedlings were subjected to treatment with a range of inhibitors of carotenoid and chlorophyll biosynthesis. The results indicate that, in green tissues, carotenoid and chlorophyll levels are tightly co-regulated and that a chemically induced arrest in pigment biosynthesis results in activation of the Pds promoter. The promoter is also induced in etiolated seedlings, which contain much lower carotenoid levels than light-grown seedlings. These data suggest that in green tissues Pds gene transcription may respond to end-product regulation.