, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 1019-1027

Functional dissection of a napin gene promoter: identification of promoter elements required for embryo and endosperm-specific transcription

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Abstract

The promoter region (−309 to +44) of the Brassica napus storage protein gene napA was studied in transgenic tobacco by successive 5′ as well as internal deletions fused to the reporter gene GUS (β-glucuronidase). The expression in the two main tissues of the seed, the endosperm and the embryo, was shown to be differentially regulated. This tissue-specific regulation within the seed was found to affect the developmental expression during seed development. The region between −309 to −152, which has a large effect on quantitative expression, was shown to harbour four elements regulating embryo and one regulating endosperm expression. This region also displayed enhancer activity. Deletion of eight bp from position −152 to position −144 totally abolished the activity of the napA promoter. This deletion disrupted a cis element with similarity to an ABA-responsive element (ABRE) overlapping with an E-box, demonstrating its crucial importance for quantitative expression. An internal deletion of the region −133 to −120, resulted in increased activity in both leaves and endosperm and a decreased activity in the embryo. Within this region, a cis element similar to the (CA)n element, found in other storage protein promoters, was identified. This suggest that the (CA)n element is important for conferring seed specificity by serving both as an activator and a repressor element.