Main content area

Maturation-specific translational enhancement mediated by the 5'-UTR of a late pollen transcript

Bate, N., Spurr, C., Foster, G.D., Twell, D.
The plant journal 1996 v.10 no.4 pp. 613-623
messenger RNA, recombinant DNA, biolistics, transgenic plants, Agrobacterium radiobacter, plasmid vectors, luciferase, gene expression, pollen tubes, Nicotiana tabacum, reporter genes, pollen, promoter regions, plant proteins
The tomato lat52 gene encodes an abundant protein specifically expressed in the vegetative cell of the pollen grain during pollen maturation which is essential for normal pollen tube growth. Multiple upstream cis-regulatory elements controlling the level and specificity of lat52 transcription have previously been identified. This research investigated the role of the 5'-untranslated region (5'-UTR) in controlling lat52 expression. In transient expression assays, gene fusion constructs containing the lat52 5'-UTR were expressed in pollen at levels 13- to 60-fold above those in which synthetic polylinker sequences replaced the lat52 5'-UTR. This enhancement was shown to be independent of both the promoter sequences, the linked reporter gene and the 3'-UTR. Analysis of RNA and protein levels in transgenic plants containing such gene fusions demonstrated that the lat52 5'-UTR conferred a dramatically increased translational yield to heterologous transcripts in a pollen-specific and strictly developmentally regulated manner during the final stages of pollen maturation. These results represent a novel example of translational enhancement in plants in that translational yield is regulated developmentally in a cell-specific manner via sequences located within the 5'-UTR.