Main content area

The 3[prime] untranslated region of a soybean cytosolic glutamine synthetase (GS₁) affects transcript stability and protein accumulation in transgenic alfalfa

Ortega, Jose L., Moguel-Esponda, Salvador, Potenza, Carol, Conklin, Cristina F., Quintana, Anita, Sengupta-Gopalan, Champa
The plant journal 2006 v.45 no.5 pp. 832-846
Glycine max, Medicago sativa, Nicotiana tabacum, alfalfa, ammonia, carbon, chloroplasts, drainage, glutamate-ammonia ligase, glutamine, leaves, nitrogen, reporter genes, soybeans, tobacco, transcription (genetics), transgenes, translation (genetics)
Higher plants assimilate nitrogen in the form of ammonia through the concerted activity of glutamine synthetase (GS) and glutamate synthase (GOGAT). The GS enzyme is either located in the cytoplasm (GS₁) or in the chloroplast (GS₂). Glutamine synthetase 1 is regulated in different plants at the transcriptional level and there are some reports of regulation at the level of protein stability. Here we present data that clearly establish that GS₁ in plants is also regulated at the level of transcript turnover and at the translational level. Using a Glycine max (soybean) GS₁ transgene, with and without its 3[prime] untranslated region (UTR), driven by the constitutive CaMV 35S promoter in Medicago sativa (alfalfa) and Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco), we show that the 3[prime] UTR plays a major role in both transcript turnover and translation repression in both the leaves and the nodules. Our data suggest that the 3[prime] UTR mediated turnover of the transcript is regulated by a nitrogen metabolite or carbon/nitrogen ratios. We also show that the 3[prime] UTR of the gene for the soybean GS₁ confers post-transcriptional regulation on a reporter gene. Our dissection of post-transcriptional and translational levels of regulation of GS in plants shows that the situation in plants strongly resembles that in other organisms where GS is regulated at almost all levels. Multistep regulation of GS shows the high priority given by organisms to regulating and ensuring optimal control of nitrogen substrates and preventing overproduction of glutamine and drainage of the glutamate pool.