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Plant Physiol. 2004 Dec;136(4):4205-14. Epub 2004 Nov 12.

Promoter analysis of the barley Pht1;1 phosphate transporter gene identifies regions controlling root expression and responsiveness to phosphate deprivation.

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  • 1Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Plant Industry, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601, Australia.


Previous studies have shown that the promoter from the barley (Hordeum vulgare) phosphate transporter gene, HvPht1;1, activates high levels of expression in rice (Oryza sativa) roots and that the expression level was induced by up to 4-fold in response to phosphorus (P) deprivation. To identify promoter regions controlling gene regulation specificities, successive promoter truncations were made and attached to reporter genes. Promoters of between 856 and 1,400 nucleotides activated gene expression in a number of cell types but with maximal expression in trichoblast (root hair) cells. For shorter promoters the trichoblast specificity was lost, but in other tissues the distribution pattern was unchanged. The low P induction response was unaffected by promoter length. Domain exchange experiments subsequently identified that the region between -856 and -547 nucleotides (relative to the translational start) is required for epidermal cell expression. A second region located between 0 and -195 nucleotides controls root-tip expression. The HvPht1;1 promoter contains one PHO-like motif and three motifs similar to the dicot P1BS element. Analysis of promoters from which the PHO-like element was eliminated (by truncation) showed no change in the gene induction response to P deficiency. In contrast, mutation of the P1BS elements eliminated any induction of gene expression in response to low P. An internal HvPht1;1 promoter fragment, incorporating a single P1BS element, had an increased response to P deprivation in comparison with the unmodified promoter (containing three elements). Together these findings further our understanding of the regulation of the HvPht1;1 gene and provide direct evidence for a functional role of the P1BS element in the expression of P-regulated genes.

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