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Transcription factor RF2a alters expression of the rice tungro bacilliform virus promoter in transgenic tobacco plants

Petruccelli, S., Dai, S., Carcamo, R., Yin, Y., Chen, S., Beachy, R.N.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2001 v.98 no.13 pp. 7635-7640
Nicotiana tabacum, Rice tungro bacilliform virus, transgenic plants, transcription factors, recombinant DNA, beta-glucuronidase, gene expression, DNA-binding domains, phloem, promoter regions, binding sites, histochemistry
The promoter from rice tungro bacilliform badnavirus (RTBV) is expressed only in phloem tissues in transgenic rice plants. RF2a, a b-Zip protein from rice, is known to bind to the Box II cis element near the TATA box of the promoter. Here, we report that the full-length RTBV promoter and a truncated fragment E of the promoter, comprising nucleotides -164 to +45, result in phloem-specific expression of beta-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter genes in transgenic tobacco plants. When a fusion gene comprising the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter and RF2a cDNA was coexpressed with the GUS reporter genes, GUS activity was increased by 2-20-fold. The increase in GUS activity was positively correlated with the amount of RF2a, and the expression pattern of the RTBV promoter was altered from phloem-specific to constitutive. Constitutive expression of RF2a did not induce morphological changes in the transgenic plants. In contrast, constitutive overexpression of the b-ZIP domain of RF2a had a strong effect on the development of transgenic plants. These studies suggest that expression of the b-Zip domain can interfere with the function of homologues of RF2a that regulate development of tobacco plants.