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Plant Mol Biol. 2001 Mar;45(4):477-88.

Catharanthus roseus G-box binding factors 1 and 2 act as repressors of strictosidine synthase gene expression in cell cultures.

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Université de Tours, EA 2106, Biomolécules et Biotechnologies Végétales, UFR des Sciences et Techniques, Laboratoire de Physiologie Végétale, France.


The enzyme encoded by the strictosidine synthase (Str) gene catalyses a key step in the biosynthesis of therapeutically valuable terpenoid indole alkaloids. In Catharanthus roseus the Str gene was shown to be regulated by a wide variety of signals including auxin, methyl jasmonate and fungal elicitors in cell suspension cultures and by tissue-specific control in plant organs. The Str promoter contains a functional G-box (CACGTG) cis-regulatory sequence. In order to understand better the mechanisms involved in the regulation of Str gene expression, we isolated the C. roseus cDNAs encoding G-box binding factors Crgbf1 and Crgbf2. The binding specificity of their protein products CrGBF1 and CrGBF2 was analysed by competitive electrophoresis mobility and saturation binding assays. CrGBF1 had a high binding specificity for class I G-boxes including the Str G-box. CrGBF1 showed a lower affinity for class II G-boxes and for the G-box-like element (AACGTG) found in the tryptophan decarboxylase (Tdc) gene which encodes another enzyme involved in TIA biosynthesis. CrGBF2 showed a high affinity for all types of G-boxes tested and to a lesser extent for the Tdc G-box-like element. Transient bombardment experiments demonstrated that both CrGBF1 and CrGBF2 can act in vivo as transcriptional repressors of the Str promoter via direct interaction with the G-box. These data indicate that GBFs may play functional role in the regulation of expression of the terpenoid indole alkaloid biosynthetic gene Str.

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