Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 155–171 | Cite as

Differential combinatorial interactions of cis-acting elements recognized by R2R3-MYB, BZIP, and BHLH factors control light-responsive and tissue-specific activation of phenylpropanoid biosynthesis genes

  • Ulrike Hartmann
  • Martin Sagasser
  • Frank Mehrtens
  • Ralf Stracke
  • Bernd WeisshaarEmail author


Chalcone synthase (CHS), chalcone flavanone isomerase (CFI), flavanone 3-hydroxylase (F3H) and flavonol synthase (FLS) catalyze successive steps in the biosynthetic pathway leading to the production of flavonols. We show that in Arabidopsis thaliana all four corresponding genes are coordinately expressed in response to light, and are spatially coexpressed in siliques, flowers and leaves. Light regulatory units (LRUs) sufficient for light responsiveness were identified in all four promoters. Each unit consists of two necessary elements, namely a MYB-recognition element (MRE) and an ACGT-containing element (ACE). C1 and Sn, a R2R3-MYB and a BHLH factor, respectively, known to control tissue specific anthocyanin biosynthesis in Z. mays, were together able to activate the AtCHS promoter. This activation of the CHS promoter required an intact MRE and a newly identified sequence designated R response element (RRE AtCHS ) containing the BHLH factor consensus binding site CANNTG. The RRE was dispensable for light responsiveness, and the ACE was not necessary for activation by C1/Sn. These data suggest that a BHLH and a R2R3-MYB factor cooperate in directing tissue-specific production of flavonoids, while an ACE-binding factor, potentially a BZIP, and a R2R3-MYB factor work together in conferring light responsiveness.


chalcone synthase flavonols light regulatory units regulatory promoter elements R response element transcription factors 



ACGT-containing element


ACE-like sequence


basic helix-loop-helix


basic region/leucine zipper


chalcone flavanone isomerase


chalcone synthase




electrophoretic mobility shift assay


flavanone 3-hydroxylase


flavonol synthase


light regulatory unit


MYB-recognition element


MRE-like sequence


R response element


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrike Hartmann
    • 1
  • Martin Sagasser
    • 1
    • 2
  • Frank Mehrtens
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ralf Stracke
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bernd Weisshaar
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Plant Breeding and Yield PhysiologyMax-Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding ResearchKölnGermany
  2. 2.Genome Research, Department of BiologyBielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany

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