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Eukaryot Cell. 2004 Feb;3(1):91-9.

Core promoter structure in the oomycete Phytophthora infestans.

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Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


We have investigated the core promoter structure of the oomycete Phytophthora infestans. The transcriptional start sites (TSS) of three previously characterized P. infestans genes, Piexo1, Piexo3, and Piendo1, were determined by primer extension analyses. The TSS regions were homologous to a previously identified 16-nucleotide (nt) core sequence that overlaps the TSS in most oomycete genes. The core promoter regions of Piexo1 and Piendo1 were investigated by using a transient protoplast expression assay and the reporter gene beta-glucuronidase. Mutational analyses of the promoters of Piexo1 and Piendo1 showed that there is a putative core promoter element encompassing the TSS (-2 to +5) that has high sequence and functional homology to a known core promoter element present in other eukaryotes, the initiator element (Inr). Downstream and flanking the Inr is a highly conserved oomycete promoter region (+7 to +15), hereafter referred to as FPR (flanking promoter region), which is also important for promoter function. The importance of the 19-nt core promoter region (Inr and FPR) in Piexo1 and Piendo1 was further investigated through electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA). The EMSA studies showed that (i) both core promoters were able to specifically bind a protein or protein complex in a P. infestans whole-cell protein extract and (ii) the same mutations that reduced binding of the EMSA complex also reduced beta-glucuronidase (GUS) levels in transient expression assays. The consistency of results obtained using two different assays (GUS transient assays [in vivo] and EMSA studies [in vitro]) supports a convergence of inference about the relative importance of specific nucleotides within the 19-nt core promoter region.

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