Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 26, Issue 12, pp 2083–2090 | Cite as

Testing of a heterologous, wound- and insect-inducible promoter for functional genomics studies in conifer defense

  • Kimberley-Ann Godard
  • Ashley Byun-McKay
  • Caroline Levasseur
  • Aine Plant
  • Armand Séguin
  • Jörg Bohlmann
Genetic Transformation and Hybridization


Large-scale sequencing of conifer cDNAs and targeted molecular cloning have identified many putative conifer defense genes. Expression of many of these genes is induced in response to biotic stress and some may be expressed only in a few specialized tissues or cells. Proven functional genomics approaches to test these genes involve expression of proteins in Escherichia coli or yeast for biochemical characterization or constitutive over-expression in transformed plants. Plant transformation to test functions of insect-, wound- or pathogen-induced conifer defense genes would benefit from the use of an inducible expression system. We describe here the development of a heterologous, wound- and insect-inducible gene expression system for conifers using the potato proteinase inhibitor II (pinII)-promoter. Using pinII::GUS and pinII::(E)-α-bisabolene synthase expression constructs we demonstrate localized induced gene expression in white spruce seedlings (Picea glauca). Testing of these constructs in Arabidopsis thaliana and tobacco illustrates the additional potential of the pinII-promoter to be used in tests of gene function that involve cell-specific and systemic induction.


Local and systemic defense Metabolic engineering Oleoresin Plant–insect interactions Secondary metabolism Terpenoid synthase 



The research reported in this paper was supported with grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC; Jörg Bohlmann and Aine Plant) and by funds from Genome British Columbia and Genome Canada in support of the TREENOMIX Conifer Forest Health Project (grant to Jörg Bohlmann). Conifer transformation in the laboratory of Armand Séguin was supported by the Arborea Project funded by Genome Québec and Genome Canada. We thank Dr. Rodney Croteau, Washington State University, Pullman, USA for providing the grand fir (E)-α-bisabolene synthase cDNA clone. We thank Gholamreza Babajani, Harpreet Sandhu and Françoise Pelletier for technical assistance. Kimberley-Ann Godard was supported by an NSERC graduate student scholarship. Jörg Bohlmann is an NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Memorial fellow.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimberley-Ann Godard
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ashley Byun-McKay
    • 3
  • Caroline Levasseur
    • 4
  • Aine Plant
    • 3
  • Armand Séguin
    • 4
  • Jörg Bohlmann
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Michael Smith LaboratoriesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  4. 4.Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest ServiceLaurentian Forestry CentreQuebecCanada
  5. 5.Department of Forest SciencesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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