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EMBO J. 1989 Mar;8(3):651-6.

Inducible in vivo DNA footprints define sequences necessary for UV light activation of the parsley chalcone synthase gene.

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Department of Biochemistry, Max Planck Institut für Züchtungsforschung, Köln, FRG.


We began characterization of the protein--DNA interactions necessary for UV light induced transcriptional activation of the gene encoding chalcone synthase (CHS), a key plant defense enzyme. Three light dependent in vivo footprints appear on a 90 bp stretch of the CHS promoter with a time course correlated with the onset of CHS transcription. We define a minimal light responsive promoter by functional analysis of truncated CHS promoter fusions with a reporter gene in transient expression experiments in parsley protoplasts. Two of the three footprinted sequence 'boxes' reside within the minimal promoter. Replacement of 10 bp within either of these 'boxes' leads to complete loss of light responsiveness. We conclude that these sequences define the necessary cis elements of the minimal CHS promoter's light responsive element. One of the functionally defined 'boxes' is homologous to an element implicated in regulation of genes involved in photosynthesis. These data represent the first example in a plant defense gene of an induced change in protein--DNA contacts necessary for transcriptional activation. Also, our data argue strongly that divergent light induced biosynthetic pathways share common regulatory units.

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