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EMBO J. 1996 Apr 1;15(7):1678-86.

Multiple regions of the Arabidopsis SAUR-AC1 gene control transcript abundance: the 3' untranslated region functions as an mRNA instability determinant.

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MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824-1312, USA.


The small-auxin-up-RNA (SAUR) transcripts are rapidly induced by auxin and are among the most short-lived mRNAs in higher plants. In this study, we investigate the regulation of SAUR-AC1, a well characterized SAUR gene of Arabidopsis. Be examining the expression of chimeric genes in transgenic tobacco, we demonstrate that the promoter region of SAUR-AC1 mediates auxin induction. Sequences downstream of the promoter region were found to limit mRNA accumulation in a manner that was independent of auxin treatment. Both the coding region and the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of SAUR-AC1 independently contribute to this limitation. Effects on mRNA stability were assayed using chimeric genes under the control of the tetracycline-repressible Top10 promoter. mRNA half-life analysis following tetracycline treatment showed that the SAUR-AC1 coding region does not contain elements that decrease mRNA stability. In contrast, the 3' UTR was found to act as a potent mRNA instability determinant. This finding and the general utility of the Top10 system should provide the means to elucidate mRNA decay pathways that are potentially novel and specific for certain unstable transcripts.

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