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Plant J. 2006 Feb;45(3):384-98.

A universal algorithm for genome-wide in silicio identification of biologically significant gene promoter putative cis-regulatory-elements; identification of new elements for reactive oxygen species and sucrose signaling in Arabidopsis.

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1
Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå Plant Science Centre, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden.

Abstract

Short motifs of many cis-regulatory elements (CREs) can be found in the promoters of most Arabidopsis genes, and this raises the question of how their presence can confer specific regulation. We developed a universal algorithm to test the biological significance of CREs by first identifying every Arabidopsis gene with a CRE and then statistically correlating the presence or absence of the element with the gene expression profile on multiple DNA microarrays. This algorithm was successfully verified for previously characterized abscisic acid, ethylene, sucrose and drought responsive CREs in Arabidopsis, showing that the presence of these elements indeed correlates with treatment-specific gene induction. Later, we used standard motif sampling methods to identify 128 putative motifs induced by excess light, reactive oxygen species and sucrose. Our algorithm was able to filter 20 out of 128 novel CREs which significantly correlated with gene induction by either heat, reactive oxygen species and/or sucrose. The position, orientation and sequence specificity of CREs was tested in silicio by analyzing the expression of genes with naturally occurring sequence variations. In three novel CREs the forward orientation correlated with sucrose induction and the reverse orientation with sucrose suppression. The functionality of the predicted novel CREs was experimentally confirmed using Arabidopsis cell-suspension cultures transformed with short promoter fragments or artificial promoters fused with the GUS reporter gene. Our genome-wide analysis opens up new possibilities for in silicio verification of the biological significance of newly discovered CREs, and allows for subsequent selection of such CREs for experimental studies.

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