, Volume 81, Issue 5, pp 581-588

pEmu: an improved promoter for gene expression in cereal cells

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A recombinant promoter, pEmu, has been constructed to give a high level of gene expression in monocots. It is based on a truncated maize Adh1 promoter, with multiple copies of the Anaerobic Responsive Element from the maize Adh1 gene and ocs-elements from the octopine synthase gene of Agrobacterium tumefaciens. The pEmu promoter was one of 12 different promoter constructs that were linked to the β-glucuronidase (GUS) marker gene. Promoter activity was measured 48 h after introduction of the constructs into protoplasts of five different monocot species [wheat, maize, rice, einkorn (Triticum monococcum), and Lolium multiflorum] and one dicot (Nicotiana plumbaginifolia). In suspension cell protoplasts, the most highly expressing construct (pEmuGN) gave 10- to 50-fold higher expression than the CaMV 35S promoter in all the monocot species. The pEmu promoter should be valuable where a high level of gene expression is required in monocots. The pEmu promoter showed instability in several widely used Escherichia coli strains but was stable in a recA, recD strain AC001, which is described. Another construct, p4OCSΔ35SIGN, gave a tenfold increase in expression over the CaMV 35S promoter in dicot (Nicotiana plumbaginifolia) protoplasts.

Communicated by J.W. Snape