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A DNA element between At4g28630 and At4g28640 confers companion-cell specific expression following the sink-to-source transition in mature minor vein phloem

McGarry, Roisin C., Ayre, Brian G.
Planta 2008 v.228 no.5 pp. 839-849
ABC transporters, Arabidopsis, apoplast, enhancer elements, flowering, intergenic DNA, phloem, phloem loading, reporter genes
The collection phloem in minor veins is distinct from other vein classes in that the minor veins mature during the sink to source transition and are the primary sites of phloem loading. After maturation, minor vein phloem maintains its character in part through minor-vein specific regulatory cascades; however despite its physiological significance, little of these developmental programs is understood. From an Arabidopsis enhancer trap screen, we identified MATURE MINOR VEIN ELEMENT1 (MMVE1) in the intergenic region between two oppositely oriented genes, the ABC transporter ATM1 (At4g28630) and IAA11 (At4g28640). MMVE1 promotes reporter gene activity in minor vein phloem in a pattern resembling the sink to source transition. Promoter truncation experiments and phylogenetic footprinting demonstrate sequences proximal to ATM1 promote minor vein expression whereas sequences closer to IAA11 repress it. Both orientations of the promoter were used to drive expression of CONSTANS to generate a phloem mobile signal conferring early flowering under non-inductive conditions. Tandem copies of MMVE1 increase minor vein expression strength and specificity. MMVE1 is the first minor vein enhancer characterized from a species that loads from the apoplast, and supports the presence of unique regulatory cascades operating in minor vein phloem.