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EMBO J. Aug 16, 1999; 18(16): 4455–4463.
PMCID: PMC1171520

A novel jasmonate- and elicitor-responsive element in the periwinkle secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene Str interacts with a jasmonate- and elicitor-inducible AP2-domain transcription factor, ORCA2.


Jasmonate (JA) is an important plant stress hormone that induces various plant defense responses, including the biosynthesis of protective secondary metabolites. The induction of the secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene Strictosidine synthase (Str) in Catharanthus roseus (periwinkle) cells by elicitor requires JA as a second messenger. A 42 bp region in the Str promoter is both necessary and sufficient for JA- and elicitor-responsive expression. This region is unlike other previously identified JA-responsive regions, and contains a GCC-box-like element. Yeast one-hybrid screening identified cDNAs encoding two AP2-domain proteins. These octadecanoid-derivative responsive Catharanthus AP2-domain (ORCA) proteins bind in a sequence-specific manner the JA- and elicitor-responsive element. ORCA2 trans-activates the Str promoter and its expression is rapidly inducible with JA and elicitor, whereas Orca1 is expressed constitutively. The results indicate that a GCC-box-like element and ORCA2 play key roles in JA- and elicitor-responsive expression of the terpenoid indole alkaloid biosynthetic gene Str.

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