Plant gene responses to frequency-specific sound signals
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We identified a set of sound-responsive genes in plants using a sound-treated subtractive library and demonstrated sound regulation through mRNA expression analyses. Under both light and dark conditions, sound up-regulated expression of rbcS and ald. These are also light-responsive genes and these results suggest that sound could represent an alternative to light as a gene regulator. Ald mRNA expression increased significantly with treatment at 125 and 250 Hz, whereas levels decreased significantly with treatment at 50 Hz, indicating a frequency-specific response. To investigate whether the ald promoter responds to sound, we generated transgenic rice plants harboring a chimeric gene comprising a fusion of the ald promoter and GUS reporter. In three independent transgenic lines treated with 50 or 250 Hz for 4 h, GUS mRNA expression was up-regulated at 250 Hz, but down-regulated at 50 Hz. Thus, the sound-responsive mRNA expression pattern observed for the ald promoter correlated closely with that of ald, suggesting that the 1,506 bp ald promoter is sound-responsive. Therefore, we propose that in transgenic plants, specific frequencies of sound treatment could be used to regulate the expression of any gene fused to the ald promoter.