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Gene. 2009 Jan 1;428(1-2):9-19. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2008.09.028. Epub 2008 Oct 8.

Chymotrypsin protease inhibitor gene family in rice: Genomic organization and evidence for the presence of a bidirectional promoter shared between two chymotrypsin protease inhibitor genes.

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Department of Plant Molecular Biology, University of Delhi South Campus, New Delhi, India.


Protease inhibitors play important roles in stress and developmental responses of plants. Rice genome contains 17 putative members in chymotrypsin protease inhibitor (ranging in size from 7.21 to 11.9 kDa) gene family with different predicted localization sites. Full-length cDNA encoding for a putative subtilisin-chymotrypsin protease inhibitor (OCPI2) was obtained from Pusa basmati 1 (indica) rice seedlings. 620 bp-long OCPI2 cDNA contained 219 bp-long ORF, coding for 72 amino acid-long 7.7 kDa subtilisin-chymotrypsin protease inhibitor (CPI) cytoplasmic protein. Expression analysis by semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that OCPI2 transcript is induced by varied stresses including salt, ABA, low temperature and mechanical injury in both root and shoot tissues of the seedlings. Transgenic rice plants produced with OCPI2 promoter-gus reporter gene showed that this promoter directs high salt- and ABA-regulated expression of the GUS gene. Another CPI gene (OCPI1) upstream to OCPI2 (with 1126 bp distance between the transcription initiation sites of the two genes; transcription in the reverse orientation) was noted in genome sequence of rice genome. A vector that had GFP and GUS reporter genes in opposite orientations driven by 1881 bp intergenic sequence between the OCPI2 and OCPI1 (encompassing the region between the translation initiation sites of the two genes) was constructed and shot in onion epidermal cells by particle bombardment. Expression of both GFP and GUS from the same epidermal cell showed that this sequence represents a bidirectional promoter. Examples illustrating gene pairs showing co-expression of two divergent neighboring genes sharing a bidirectional promoter have recently been extensively worked out in yeast and human systems. We provide an example of a gene pair constituted of two homologous genes showing co-expression governed by a bidirectional promoter in rice.

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