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Plant Physiol. 2006 Jan;140(1):196-209. Epub 2005 Dec 16.

Distinct roles of the first introns on the expression of Arabidopsis profilin gene family members.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Republic of Korea.


Profilin is a small actin-binding protein that regulates cellular dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton. In Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), five profilins were identified. The vegetative class profilins, PRF1, PRF2, and PRF3, are expressed in vegetative organs. The reproductive class profilins, PRF4 and PRF5, are mainly expressed in pollen. In this study, we examined the role of the first intron in the expression of the Arabidopsis profilin gene family using transgenic plants and a transient expression system. In transgenic plants, we examined PRF2 and PRF5, which represent vegetative and reproductive profilins. The expression of the PRF2 promoter fused with the beta-glucuronidase (GUS) gene was observed in the vascular bundles, but transgenic plants carrying the PRF2 promoter-GUS with its first intron showed constitutive expression throughout the vegetative tissues. However, the first intron of PRF5 had little effect on the reporter gene expression pattern. Transgenic plants containing PRF5 promoter-GUS fusion with or without its first intron showed reproductive tissue-specific expression. To further investigate the different roles of the first two introns on gene expression, the first introns were exchanged between PRF2 and PRF5. The first intron of PRF5 had no apparent effect on the expression pattern of the PRF2 promoter. But, unlike the intron of PRF5, the first intron of PRF2 greatly affected the reproductive tissue-specific expression of the PRF5 promoter, confirming a different role for these introns. The results of a transient expression assay indicated that the first intron of PRF1 and PRF2 enhances gene expression, whereas PRF4 and PRF5 do not. These results suggest that the first introns of profilin genes are functionally distinctive and the first introns are required for the strong and constitutive gene expression of PRF1 and PRF2 in vegetative tissues.

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