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Plant J. 1997 Oct;12(4):731-46.

Expression of ACC oxidase promoter-GUS fusions in tomato and Nicotiana plumbaginifolia regulated by developmental and environmental stimuli.

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Department of Physiology and Environmental Science, University of Nottingham, Loughborough, UK.


The enzyme ACC oxidase, catalysing the last step in the biosynthesis of the plant hormone ethylene, is encoded by a small multigene family in tomato, comprising three members, LEACO1, LEACO2 and LEACO3. LEACO1 is the major gene expressed during ripening, leaf senescence, and wounding (Barry et al., 1996). To investigate the transcriptional regulation of ACC oxidase gene expression, chimeric fusions between the beta-glucuronidase reporter gene and 97 bp of 5' UTR plus 124, 396 and 1825 bp, respectively, of 5' untranscribed LEACO1 sequence were constructed and introduced into Lycopersicon esculentum (Mill cv. Ailsa Craig) and Nicotiana plumbaginifolia. Analysis of transgenic tomatoes indicated that the region containing nucleotides -124 to +97 of the LEACO1 gene is sufficient to confer a marked increase in GUS activity during fruit ripening, albeit at very low levels. Fusion of 396 and 1825 bp of LEACO1 upstream sequence resulted in strong and specific induction of GUS expression in situations known to be accompanied by enhanced ethylene production. Reporter gene expression was similar to that of the endogenous LEACO1 gene, with major increases especially during fruit ripening, senescence and abscission of leaves and, to a lesser extent, of flowers. Analysis of transgenic N. plumbaginifolia plants confirmed the pattern of LEACO1 promoter activity detected in tomato leaves and flowers. Reporter gene expression was also induced following wounding, treatment with ethylene, and pathogen infection. Histochemical analysis illustrated localized GUS activity in the pericarp of ripening fruit, abscission zones of senescent petioles and unfertilized flowers, and at wound sites. These results demonstrate that ACC oxidase is regulated at the transcriptional level in a wide range of cell types at different developmental stages and in response to several external stimuli.

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