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Plant Mol Biol. 1994 Oct;26(1):393-402.

Expression of the tobacco Tnt1 retrotransposon promoter in heterologous species.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Biologie Cellulaire, INRA-Versailles, France.


The expression of the tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) retrotransposon Tnt1 has previously been shown to be strongly regulated and driven from the 5' long terminal repeat (LTR). We report here that the Tnt1 LTR can promote activity of the beta-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene in two heterologous species of the Brassicaceae family, namely rapeseed (Brassica napus) and Arabidopsis thaliana. The translational LTR-GUS fusion was active in transient expression studies performed with tobacco and rapeseed protoplasts, indicating that the LTR sequences are recognized in heterologous species. Our results also showed that Tnt1 LTR-promoted GUS expression in transgenic Arabidopsis is strongly regulated, and that, in contrast to tobacco, hormonal activation plays a significant role in the expression of the Tnt1 LTR in Arabidopsis. LTR sequences were shown to be more effective than the CaMV 35S enhancer region in transient expression studies performed with tobacco or rapeseed protoplasts, and substitution of the LTR sequences upstream from the major transcriptional start with the CaMV 35S enhancer region gave high levels of expression in transgenic tobacco and Arabidopsis leaves, suggesting that a Tnt1 element with similar substitutions in its 5' LTR might be suited for gene-tagging experiments in heterologous species.

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