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Plant Mol Biol. 1999 Jan;39(1):11-9.

Characterization of the regulatory elements of the maize P-rr gene by transient expression assays.

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Department of Zoology and Genetics, Iowa State University, Ames 50011, USA.


The maize P-rr gene conditions floral-specific flavonoid pigmentation, especially in the kernel pericarp and cob. We analyzed the P-rr promoter by transient expression assays, in which segments of the P-rr promoter were fused to the GUS reporter gene and introduced into maize cells by particle bombardment. A basal P-rr promoter fragment (-235 to +326) gave low, but significant, levels of GUS reporter gene expression. Interestingly, two widely spaced segments containing enhancer-like activity were found. When tested individually, both the proximal (-1252 to -236) and distal (-6110 to -4842) segments boosted expression of the basal P-rr promoter::GUS construct about five-fold. A 1.6 kb segment of the P-rr promoter (-1252 to +326) containing the proximal enhancer and the 5'-untranslated leader driving the GUS reporter gene showed preferential expression in BMS and embryogenic suspension cell cultures vs. endosperm-derived suspension cell cultures. These results demonstrate the application of transient assay techniques for the identification of regulatory elements responsible for floral-specific regulation of the complex P-rr gene promoter in maize.

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