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Plant J. 1997 May;11(5):1017-27.

Independent modulation of Arabidopsis thaliana polyubiquitin mRNAs in different organs and in response to environmental changes.

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Section of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.


The highly conserved protein ubiquitin is encoded by five polyubiquitin genes in Arabidopsis thaliana ecotype Columbia that have been divided into two subtypes, the UBQ3/UBQ4 subtype and the UBQ10/UBQ11/UBQ14 subtype. Northern analysis using gene-specific oligonucleotides as hybridization probes and enzyme activity measurements from transgenic plants expressing beta-glucuronidase (GUS) under the control of individual polyubiquitin 5' flanking regions were used to determine the development and environmental regulation of polyubiquitin transcription and mRNA accumulation. Polyubiquitin mRNA levels within and between subtypes were independently modulated. UBQ3 mRNA levels were three-fold higher than UBQ4 mRNA levels in vegetative organs, but only two-thirds of the UBQ4 mRNA levels in flowers. UBQ3 mRNA was modulated by dark/light treatments, while mRNAs from UBQ and all members of the other subtype were unaffected. Similarly, within the UBQ10/UBQ11/UBQ14 subtype, UBQ11/UBQ14 mRNAs were modulated differently in seedlings after a two-hour heat-shock treatment. Among all the polyubiquitin genes, UBQ10 mRNA level was the most constant in all organs and environmental conditions examined. Transgenic plants transformed with a UBQ10 5' flanking region::GUS gene contained higher levels of GUS activity than transgenic plants expressing GUS under the control of UBQ3 5' flanking regions. In conclusion, the relative abundance of different Arabidopsis polyubiquitin mRNAs, even those produced from highly similar genes within a subtype, appears to be modulated independently in response to developmental and environmental cues.

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