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Plant Cell. 1997 Apr;9(4):479-489.

The Promoter of the Gene Encoding the C4 Form of Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxylase Directs Mesophyll-Specific Expression in Transgenic C4 Flaveria spp.

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  • 1Institut fur Entwicklungsbiologie und Molekularbiologie der Pflanzen, Heinrich-Heine-Universitat Dusseldorf, Universitatsstrasse 1, 40225 Dusseldorf, Germany.


The function of the C4 mechanism of photosynthesis depends on the strict compartmentation of the enzymes involved. Here, we investigate the regulatory mechanisms that ensure the mesophyll-specific expression of the C4 isoform of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase. We show that 2 kb of the 5[prime] flanking region of the Flaveria trinervia C4 PpcA1 gene is sufficient to direct mesophyll-specific expression of the [beta]-glucuronidase reporter gene in transgenic F. bidentis (C4) plants. In young leaves of seedlings, the activity of this promoter is dependent on the developmental stage of the mesophyll cells. It is induced in a basipetal fashion (leaf tip to base) during leaf development. The promoter region of the orthologous nonphotosynthetic Ppc gene of F. pringlei (C3) induces reporter gene expression mainly in the vascular tissue of leaves and stems as well as in mesophyll cells of transgenic F. bidentis plants. Our experiments demonstrate that during the evolution of the C4 Flaveria species, cis-acting elements of the C4 Ppc gene must have been altered to achieve mesophyll-specific expression.

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