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PLoS One. 2013 Nov 19;8(11):e79622. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079622. eCollection 2013.

An intergenic region shared by At4g35985 and At4g35987 in Arabidopsis thaliana is a tissue specific and stress inducible bidirectional promoter analyzed in transgenic arabidopsis and tobacco plants.

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KTRDC, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, United States of America.


On chromosome 4 in the Arabidopsis genome, two neighboring genes (calmodulin methyl transferase At4g35987 and senescence associated gene At4g35985) are located in a head-to-head divergent orientation sharing a putative bidirectional promoter. This 1258 bp intergenic region contains a number of environmental stress responsive and tissue specific cis-regulatory elements. Transcript analysis of At4g35985 and At4g35987 genes by quantitative real time PCR showed tissue specific and stress inducible expression profiles. We tested the bidirectional promoter-function of the intergenic region shared by the divergent genes At4g35985 and At4g35987 using two reporter genes (GFP and GUS) in both orientations in transient tobacco protoplast and Agro-infiltration assays, as well as in stably transformed transgenic Arabidopsis and tobacco plants. In transient assays with GFP and GUS reporter genes the At4g35985 promoter (P85) showed stronger expression (about 3.5 fold) compared to the At4g35987 promoter (P87). The tissue specific as well as stress responsive functional nature of the bidirectional promoter was evaluated in independent transgenic Arabidopsis and tobacco lines. Expression of P85 activity was detected in the midrib of leaves, leaf trichomes, apical meristemic regions, throughout the root, lateral roots and flowers. The expression of P87 was observed in leaf-tip, hydathodes, apical meristem, root tips, emerging lateral root tips, root stele region and in floral tissues. The bidirectional promoter in both orientations shows differential up-regulation (2.5 to 3 fold) under salt stress. Use of such regulatory elements of bidirectional promoters showing spatial and stress inducible promoter-functions in heterologous system might be an important tool for plant biotechnology and gene stacking applications.

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