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Plant Physiol. 2000 Jul;123(3):869-81.

Analysis of gene promoters for two tomato polygalacturonases expressed in abscission zones and the stigma.

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Soybean and Alfalfa Research Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Building 006, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center-West, 10300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA.


The tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum cv Ailsa Craig) polygalacturonase genes TAPG1 (LYCes;Pga1;2) and TAPG4 (LYCes;Pga1;5) are abundantly expressed in both abscission zones and the pistils of mature flowers. To further investigate the spatial and temporal expression patterns for these genes, the TAPG gene promoters were ligated to beta-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter genes and transformed into tomato. GUS expression with both constructs was similar and entirely consistent with the expression patterns of the native gene transcripts. GUS activity was observed in the weakening abscission zones of the leaf petiole, flower and fruit pedicel, flower corolla, and fruit calyx. In leaf petiole and flower pedicel zones this activity was enhanced by ethylene and inhibited by indole-3-acetic acid. On induction of abscission with ethylene, GUS accumulation was much earlier in TAPG4:GUS than in TAPG1:GUS transformants. Moreover, TAPG4:GUS staining appeared to predominate in the vascular bundles relative to surrounding cortex cells whereas TAPG1:GUS was more evenly distributed across the separation layer. Like the native genes, GUS was also expressed in the stigma. Activity was not apparent in pistils until the flowers had opened and was confined to the stigma and style immediately proximal to it. A minimal promoter construct consisting of a 247-bp 5'-upstream element from TAPG1 was found to be sufficient to direct GUS expression in both abscission zones and the stigma.

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