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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jun 20, 1995; 92(13): 5905–5909.

Modes of expression and common structural features of the complete phenylalanine ammonia-lyase gene family in parsley.


We describe a complete gene family encoding phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL; EC in one particular plant species. In parsley (Petroselinum crispum), the PAL gene family comprises two closely related members, PAL1 and PAL2, whose TATA-proximal promoter and coding regions are almost identical, and two additional members, PAL3 and PAL4, with less similarity to one another and to the PAL1 and PAL2 genes. Using gene-specific probes derived from the 5' untranslated regions of PAL1/2, PAL3, and PAL4, we determined the respective mRNA levels in parsley leaves and cell cultures treated with UV light or fungal elicitor and in wounded leaves and roots. For comparison, the functionally closely related cinnamate 4-hydroxylase (C4H) and 4-coumarate:CoA ligase (4CL) mRNAs were measured in parallel. The results indicate various degrees of differential responsiveness of PAL4 relative to the other PAL gene family members, in contrast to a high degree of coordination in the overall expression of the PAL, C4H, and 4CL genes. The only significant sequence similarities shared by all four PAL gene promoters are a TATA-proximal set of three putative cis-acting elements (boxes P, A, and L). None of these elements alone, or the promoter region containing all of them together, conferred elicitor or light responsiveness on a reporter gene in transient expression assays. The elements appear to be necessary but not sufficient for elicitor- or light-mediated PAL gene activation, similar to the situation previously reported for 4CL.

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