Characterization of a pine multigene family containing elicitor- responsive stilbene synthase genes
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- Preisig-müller, R., Schwekendiek, A., Brehm, I. et al. Plant Mol Biol (1999) 39: 221. doi:10.1023/A:1006163030646
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Young pine seedlings respond to environmental stress by induced synthesis of pinosylvin, a stilbene phytoalexin. Heartwood of pine trees is characterized by a high content of pinosylvin. The formation of pinosylvin from cinnamoyl-CoA and three molecules malonyl-CoA catalysed by pinosylvin synthase is typical of the genus Pinus. Its enzyme activity not detectable in unstressed seedlings is substantially increased upon application of stimuli like UV-light or infection with the phytopathogenic fungus Botrytis cinerea. A genomic DNA library was screened with pinosylvin synthase cDNA pSP-54 as a probe. Ten clones were isolated and grouped into five subclasses according to the size of their introns. After subcloning into plasmid T7T3, four different members of the five gene subclasses were characterized by sequencing. Emphasis was put on isolating various promoters and analyzing and comparing their responsiveness. The amino acid sequences deduced from genes PST-1, PST-2, PST-3 and PST-5 shared an overall identity of more than 95%. In gene PST-5, the putative translation start site ATG was replaced by CTG. While promoter regions near the TATAA box were almost identical PST-1, PST-2 and PST-3, further upstream sequences differed substantially. Differences in promoter strength were analysed both in transgenic tobacco plants and by transient expression in tobacco protoplasts. Constructs used contained the bacterial β-glucuronidase under the control of the promoters of pine genes PST-1, PST-2 and PST-3. Upon treatment with UV light or fungal elicitor, the promoter of PST-1 showed highest responsiveness and led to tissue-specific expression in vascular bundles. The data suggest that in pine the gene product of PST-1 is responsible for both the stress response in seedlings and pinosylvin formation in the heartwood.