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Plant Physiol. 2007 Jul;144(3):1680-9. Epub 2007 May 11.

Identification of a bipartite jasmonate-responsive promoter element in the Catharanthus roseus ORCA3 transcription factor gene that interacts specifically with AT-Hook DNA-binding proteins.

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  • 1Institute of Biology, Clusius Laboratory, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Jasmonates are plant signaling molecules that play key roles in defense against certain pathogens and insects, among others, by controlling the biosynthesis of protective secondary metabolites. In Catharanthus roseus, the APETALA2-domain transcription factor ORCA3 is involved in the jasmonate-responsive activation of terpenoid indole alkaloid biosynthetic genes. ORCA3 gene expression is itself induced by jasmonate. By loss- and gain-of-function experiments, we located a 74-bp region within the ORCA3 promoter, which contains an autonomous jasmonate-responsive element (JRE). The ORCA3 JRE is composed of two important sequences: a quantitative sequence responsible for a high level of expression and a qualitative sequence that appears to act as an on/off switch in response to methyl jasmonate. We isolated 12 different DNA-binding proteins having one of four different types of DNA-binding domains, using the ORCA3 JRE as bait in a yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) one-hybrid transcription factor screening. The binding of one class of proteins bearing a single AT-hook DNA-binding motif was affected by mutations in the quantitative sequence within the JRE. Two of the AT-hook proteins tested had a weak activating effect on JRE-mediated reporter gene expression, suggesting that AT-hook family members may be involved in determining the level of expression of ORCA3 in response to jasmonate.

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