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Vascular preferential activity of the Pennisetum purpureum cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase promoter in transgenic tobacco plants

Zhong, Tian-Xiu, Tang, Ran, Song, Jian-Ling, Fu, Cheng-Cheng, Liu, Yang, Zhou, Cong-Cong, Zhang, Xiang-Qian, Chen, Shu, Xie, Xin-Ming
Plant physiology and biochemistry 2018 v.129 pp. 357-367
Cenchrus purpureus, abscisic acid, beta-glucuronidase, biosynthesis, cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase, fluorometry, gel electrophoresis, genes, gibberellic acid, lignin, methyl jasmonate, promoter regions, regulatory proteins, tobacco, transcription (genetics), transgenic plants, xylem
Little is known about the cross talk between the lignin biosynthesis gene promoters and the regulatory proteins that modulate molecular signaling and respond to various stresses. In this study, we characterized the promoter region of the lignin biosynthesis pathway cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) gene in elephant grass, Pennisetum purpureum. Quantification of the transcript levels of the PpCAD promoter revealed it is preferentially expressed in vascular tissue, especially xylem. Histochemical and fluorometric assays confirmed the vascular-preferential expression of the PpCAD promoter, as the highest β-glucuronidase (GUS) activity was found in the basal stem in transgenic tobacco plants expressing a 1154-bp PpCAD promoter-GUS fusion construct. Moreover, 5′-deleted PpCAD promoter analyses showed that the 1154-bp PpCAD promoter fragment had the highest transcriptional activity, whereas the 2054-bp fragment had multifarious inducible activity responding to gibberellin (GA), methyl jasmonate (MeJA), abscisic acid (ABA), and wounding. The regions from −248 to −243 bp and −1416 to −1411 bp contained W-box cis-elements, which were detected by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). The binding effects of the GA-responsive elements (from −561 to −555 bp and −1077 to −1071 bp), MeJA-responsive element (from −1146 to −1142 bp), and the ABA-responsive cis-element (from −1879 to −1874 bp) were also validated by EMSA. Based on our results, we suggest that lignin deposition associated with PpCAD promoter activity adapts to the environment through molecular signaling involving GA, MeJA, and ABA.