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Plant Mol Biol. 2001 Nov;47(5):641-52.

The promoter of a basic PR1-like gene, AtPRB1, from Arabidopsis establishes an organ-specific expression pattern and responsiveness to ethylene and methyl jasmonate.

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  • 1Institute of Cell & Molecular Biology, University of Edinburgh, UK.


Antimicrobial proteins are a key feature underlying the deployment of both pre-formed and inducible defence responses. Probably the most well characterised class are the pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins, which are found in both basic and acidic isoforms. Here we describe the isolation and characterisation of a gene, designated AtPRB1, encoding a basic PR1-like protein from Arabidopsis. This protein showed high amino acid sequence identity with basic and acidic PR1 proteins from other plant species, for example PRB1 from Nicotiana tabacum and PR1 from Brassica napus, at 64% and 78% identity respectively. A genomic DNA fragment containing 2345 bp upstream from the putative transcriptional start site was fused to the gene encoding the luciferase (LUC) gene from Photinus pyralis in order to test for promoter activity. The resulting construct was transformed into Arabidopsis accession Col-0 and analysis of LUC activity, using an ultra-low-light imaging camera system, revealed that the AtPRB1 promoter established an exquisite organ-specific expression pattern. LUC activity was observed in flowers, stems and roots but not in leaf tissue. Superimposed upon this organ-specific expression pattern was responsiveness, in root tissue, to ethylene and methyl jasmonate (MeJA), important cues during the establishment of plant disease resistance. In contrast, AtPRB1::LUC gene expression was repressed in response to salicylic acid treatment. Analysis of a limited series of AtPRB1 5'-promoter deletion mutants, identified a number of promoter regions important for both the establishment of organ-specific expression and responsiveness to ethylene and MeJA. While AtPRB1 gene expression was not induced in response to an avirulent isolate of Peronospora parasitica in leaf tissue, this gene may contribute to horizontal resistance in other tissues and/or to MeJA- and ethylene-dependent defence responses engaged against necrotrophic pathogens in root tissue. It is anticipated that transgenic plants containing AtPRB1-based promoter::reporter constructs will provide useful tools for the future dissection of the cognate signalling networks regulating the expression of this gene.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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