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Isolation of novel citrus and plum fruit promoters and their functional characterization for fruit biotechnology

Dardick Christopher D., Kasturi Dasgupta, Sara Hotton, William Belknap, Yasra Syed, Christopher Dardick, Roger Thilmony, James G. Thomson
BMC biotechnology 2020 v.20 no.1 pp. 43
Citrus, biotechnology, citrus fruits, flowers, fruit quality, fruiting, fruits, genetic engineering, leaves, plums, prediction, promoter regions, reporter genes, tomatoes, transgenic plants
BACKGROUND: Promoters that confer expression in fruit tissues are important tools for genetic engineering of fruit quality traits, yet few fruit-specific promoters have been identified, particularly for citrus fruit development. RESULTS: In this study, we report five citrus fruit-specific/preferential promoters for genetic engineering. Additionally, we have characterized a novel fruit-preferential promoter from plum. Genes specifically expressed in fruit tissues were selected and their isolated promoter regions were fused with the GUSPlus reporter gene for evaluation in transgenic plants. Stable transformation in Micro-Tom tomato demonstrated that the candidate promoter regions exhibit differing levels of expression and with varying degrees of fruit specificity. CONCLUSIONS: Among the five candidate citrus promoters characterized in this study, the CitSEP promoter showed a fruit-specific expression pattern, while the CitWAX and CitJuSac promoters exhibited high fruit-preferential expression with strong activity in the fruit, weak activity in floral tissues and low or undetectable activity in other tissues. The CitVO1, CitUNK and PamMybA promoters, while exhibiting strong fruit-preferential expression, also showed consistent weak but detectable activity in leaves and other vegetative tissues. Use of these fruit specific/preferential promoters for genetic engineering can help with precise expression of beneficial genes and help with accurate prediction of the activity of new genes in host fruit plants.