Planta

, Volume 231, Issue 5, pp 1159–1169

Two similar but distinct second intron fragments from tobacco AGAMOUS homologs confer identical floral organ-specific expression sufficient for generating complete sterility in plants

Authors

  • Yazhou Yang
    • College of Life SciencesNorthwest A&F University
    • USDA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station
  • Stacy D. Singer
    • USDA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station
    • Department of Plant Pathology, New York State Agricultural Experiment StationCornell University
    • USDA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00425-010-1120-2

Cite this article as:
Yang, Y., Singer, S.D. & Liu, Z. Planta (2010) 231: 1159. doi:10.1007/s00425-010-1120-2

Abstract

The carpel- and stamen-specific AtAGIP promoter derived from the ArabidopsisAGAMOUS (AG) second intron/enhancer is ideal for engineering complete sterility but it is highly host-specific. To ascertain whether a chimeric promoter with similar tissue specificity can be created for species other than Arabidopsis, we isolated two similar but distinct AG second intron/enhancers from tobacco (NtAGI-1 and NtAGI-2) and analyzed their ability to drive floral organ-specific expression in plants through the creation of forward- and reverse-oriented chimeric promoters, fNtAGIP1, rNtAGIP1, fNtAGIP2 and rNtAGIP2. Analyses of transgenic plants bearing each respective promoter fused to the β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene showed that all four promoters are able, like the AtAGIP, to drive very similar carpel- and stamen-specific expression without any leaky activity in vegetative tissues. These results indicate that unlike their counterparts in rice and maize, the tobacco NtAGI-1 and NtAGI-2 enhancers share a highly conserved regulatory function. Interestingly, all four promoters display additional tissue specificity in petals, and their activity is influenced by the orientation of the incorporated enhancer, with reverse-oriented enhancers exhibiting approximately double the effectiveness of forward-oriented enhancers. These properties are novel and have not been observed with the AtAGIP promoter in Arabidopsis. As expected, these highly specific promoters can also direct the expression of the DT-A cytotoxic gene exclusively in carpels, stamens and petals, resulting in complete sterility through the precise ablation of targeted floral organs. Further analyses demonstrated that the resulting trait is mitotically stable, which is critical for the long-term containment of seed-, pollen- and fruit-mediated gene flow in field conditions.

Keywords

AGAMOUSEnhancersTissue specificityTransgenic plantsSterilityGene containment

Abbreviations

AG

AGAMOUS

AtAGIP

Promoter derived from the second intron of AG from Arabidopsis thaliana

CaMV35S

Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter

CsVMV

Cassava vein mosaic virus promoter

DT-A

Diphtheria toxin A

GUS

β-Glucuronidase

NAG

AG homolog from Nicotiana tabacum

NtAGI

Second intron of the NAG gene from N. tabacum

NtAGIP

Promoter derived from the second intron of the NAG gene from N. tabacum

PCR

Polymerase chain reaction

RT-PCR

Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010