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BMC Plant Biol. 2010 Jan 29;10:18. doi: 10.1186/1471-2229-10-18.

Identification and functional characterisation of the promoter of the calcium sensor gene CBL1 from the xerophyte Ammopiptanthus mongolicus.

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National Engineering Laboratory for Tree Breeding, College of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Beijing Forestry University, No, 35, Tsinghua East Road, Beijing, PR China.



CBL1 is a calcium sensor that regulates drought, cold and salt signals in Arabidopsis. Overexpression of CBL1 gene in Arabidopsis and in Ammopiptanthus mongolicus showed different tolerant activities. We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanism of the upstream region of the CBL1 gene of A. mongolicus (AmCBL1). We investigated and characterized the promoter of the AmCBL1 gene, for promoters play a very important role in regulating gene expression in eukaryotes.


A 1683-bp 5' flanking region was isolated from A. mongolicus. The sequence was identified as AmCBL1 promoter. Analysis of the promoter sequence indicated a 690-bp intron and some basic cis-acting elements were related to various environmental stresses and plant hormones. To identify the functional region of the AmCBL1 promoter, five plant expression vectors fused with the GUS (beta-glucuronidase) gene, driven by series deleted fragments of AmCBL1 promoter at different lengths from -1659, -1414, -1048, -296 to -167 bp relative to the transcriptional start site were constructed and transformed into Nicotiana tabacum L. cv. 89. Functional properties of each promoter segment were examined by GUS staining and fluorescence quantitative analyses using at least three single-copy PCR-positive plants of transgenic tobacco, treated with various environmental stresses and plant hormones for different times. We demonstrated that the AmCBL1 promoter was a vascular-specific and multiple-stress-inducible promoter. Our results further imply that the promoter fragment B1S3 possessed sufficient essential cis-acting elements, accounting for vascular-specific and stress-induced expression patterns. It may also indicate that for response to some stresses certain cis-elements are required in tissues outside the region of the B1S3 construct.


To help resolve uncertainties about the upstream regulatory mechanism of the CBL1 gene in desert plants, we suggest that the function of the AmCBL1 promoter, particularly under conditions of abiotic stress, to be examined for possible usefulness in molecular breeding. Regardless of the outcome, the allocation and relative quantification of the GUS-fusion AmCBL1 promoter segments at transcriptional levels in different tissues under various stresses across separate promoter segments suggests that the AmCBL1 promoter is a phloem-specific and multiple-stress-inducible promoter. These data coupled with the ongoing AmCBL1 5' UTR intron analyses provide a solid foundation for their future use in molecular breeding as new promoters of stress-resistance genes from desert plants.

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