Regulation of the maize ubiquitin (Ubi-1) promoter in developing maize (Zea mays L.) seeds examined using transient gene expression in kernels grown in vitro
Kernel culture was assessed for evaluating novel gene expression in developing maize (Zea mays L.) seeds by comparing the transient expression of maize ubiquitin (Ubi-1) promoter-driven β-glucuronidase (GUS) delivered by particle bombardment in kernels grown in culture with those grown in planta. With kernels from either source, GUS expression, as determined by histochemical staining, was widespread in young, actively growing kernels, but it diminished with kernel age and by 25 days after pollination was found only in the embryo. Transient expression of Ubi-1 in kernels grown in vitro was not affected by wounding, ethylene treatment, pathogen invasion, or heat shock. In contrast, the plant hormones indole-3-acetic acid and kinetin both stimulated transient Ubi-1 expression in the endosperm, particularly at the periphery. Transient gene expression in developing maize seeds grown in vitro should allow for facile and rapid evaluation of the tissue-specificity and environmental responses of novel gene constructs in developing maize seeds.
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