Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 6039–6052 | Cite as

Isolation and functional characterization of three abiotic stress-inducible (Apx, Dhn and Hsc70) promoters from pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.)

  • Kummari Divya
  • P. B. Kavi Kishor
  • Pooja Bhatnagar-Mathur
  • Prashanth Singam
  • Kiran K. Sharma
  • Vincent Vadez
  • Palakolanu Sudhakar ReddyEmail author
Original Article


Pearl millet is a C4 cereal crop that grows in arid and semi-arid climatic conditions with the remarkable abiotic stress tolerance. It contributed to the understanding of stress tolerance not only at the physiological level but also at the genetic level. In the present study, we functionally cloned and characterized three abiotic stress-inducible promoters namely cytoplasmic Apx1 (Ascorbate peroxidase), Dhn (Dehydrin), and Hsc70 (Heat shock cognate) from pearl millet. Sequence analysis revealed that all three promoters have several cis-acting elements specific for temporal and spatial expression. PgApx pro, PgDhn pro and PgHsc70 pro were fused with uidA gene in Gateway-based plant transformation pMDC164 vector and transferred into tobacco through leaf-disc method. While PgApx pro and PgDhn pro were active in seedling stages, PgHsc70 pro was active in stem and root tissues of the T2 transgenic tobacco plants under control conditions. Higher activity was observed under high temperature and drought, and less in salt and cold stress conditions. Further, all three promoters displayed higher GUS gene expression in the stem, moderate expression in roots, and less expression in leaves under similar conditions. While RT-qPCR data showed that PgApx pro and PgDhn pro were expressed highly in high temperature, salt and drought, PgHsc70 pro was fairly expressed during high temperature stress only. Histochemical and RT-qPCR assays showed that all three promoters are inducible under abiotic stress conditions. Thus, these promoters appear to be immediate candidates for developing abiotic stress tolerant crops as these promoter-driven transgenics confer high degree of tolerance in comparison with the wild-type (WT) plants.


Abiotic stress-inducible promoters Pearl millet Cis-acting elements PgApx pro PgDhn pro PgHsc70 pro 



Pennisitum glaucum


Ascorbate peroxidase




Heat shock cognate 70


Genetic engineering


Superoxide dismutase




Napthaleneacetic acid




Murashige and Skoog



PSR acknowledges the Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi, Government of India for the research grant and award through INSPIRE Faculty (Award No. IFA11-LSPA-06). This work was undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on GLDC.

Author contributions

PSR and VV designed the experiments, KD, PSR, PBM and PS executed the study, PSR, KD and PBK analyzed data. PSR, KKS, PBK and KD wrote the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11033_2019_5039_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 15 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)Patancheru, HyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Department of GeneticsOsmania UniversityHyderabadIndia

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