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Plant Mol Biol. 1990 Oct;15(4):539-49.

Developmental regulation of expression of the malate synthase gene in transgenic plants.

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Department of Botany, University of Edinburgh, U.K.


The cucumber malate synthase (MS) gene, including 1856 bp of 5' non-transcribed sequence, has been transferred into Petunia (Mitchell) and Nicotiana plumbaginifolia plants using an Agrobacterium binary vector. The transferred gene is found in variable copy number in different transformants, and is stably transmitted in each case as a single Mendelian character. Transgene mRNA accumulates in the seedling during the first three days of germination, then declines in amount as the cotyledons emerge from the seed. The decline is more pronounced in light-grown seedlings than in dark-grown seedlings. Expression of the MS transgene is also detected at a low level in petals of transformed Petunia plants. In these respects the pattern of MS gene expression is similar in cucumber and in transformed plants, showing that the transferred DNA fragment contains a functional MS gene. A 1076 bp fragment of 5' sequence was linked to the beta-glucuronidase reporter gene and transferred into Nicotiana, where it was shown to direct temporal and spatial patterns of expression similar to that of the complete MS gene. However, histochemical localisation of beta-glucuronidase activity demonstrated that the chimaeric gene is expressed not only in cotyledons of transgenic plants, but also in endosperm and some hypocotyl cells during early germination. The relevance of these findings to the control of malate synthase gene expression is discussed.

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