Plant Molecular Biology

, 62:195 | Cite as

A novel cis-acting element, ESP, contributes to high-level endosperm-specific expression in an oat globulin promoter

  • Claudia E. VickersEmail author
  • Gangping Xue
  • Peter M. Gresshoff
Original Paper


To examine the genetic controls of endosperm (ES) specificity, several cereal seed storage protein (SSP) promoters were isolated and studied using a transient expression analysis system. An oat globulin promoter (AsGlo1) capable of driving strong ES-specific expression in barley and wheat was identified. Progressive 5′ deletions and cis element mutations demonstrated that the mechanism of specificity in the AsGlo1 promoter was distinct from that observed in glutelin and prolamin promoters. A novel interrupted palindromic sequence, ACATGTCATCATGT, was required for ES specificity and substantially contributed to expression strength of the␣AsGlo1 promoter. This sequence was termed the endosperm specificity palindrome (ESP) element. The GCN4 element, which has previously been shown to be required for ES specificity in cereal SSP promoters, had a quantitative role but was not required for tissue specificity. The 960-bp AsGlo1 promoter and a 251-bp deletion containing the ESP element also drove ES-specific expression in stably transformed barley. Reporter gene protein accumulated at very high levels (10% of total soluble protein) in ES tissues of plants transformed with an AsGlo1:GFP construct. Expression strength and tissue specificity were maintained over five transgenic generations. These attributes make the AsGlo1 promoter an ideal promoter for biotechnology applications. In conjunction with previous findings, our data demonstrate that there is more than one genetically distinct mechanism by which ES specificity can be achieved in cereal SSP promoters, and also suggest that there is redundancy between transcriptional and post-transcriptional tissue specificity mechanisms in cereal globulin genes.


AsGlo1 promoter ESP element Endosperm specificity GCN4 box Globulin promoter Promoter analysis 



abscisic acid


rice actin gene


oat 12S globulin gene


basic leucine zipper protein


days after pollination




endosperm specificity palindrome




green fluorescent protein


rice B1 glutelin gene


wheat high-molecular weight glutenin gene


Hordeum vulgare cv. Golden Promise


modified Staphylococcus sp. β-glucuronidase


barley B1 hordein gene


barley D hordein gene


seed storage protein


synthetic untranslated leader


tissue culture


total extractable protein


total soluble protein





This research was supported by an Australian Government Grains Research and Development Corporation grant (to CEV). The authors wish to thank Stephen Mudge (CSIRO Plant Industry, Brisbane) and Diana Buzas (ARC Centre for Integrative Legume Research, The University of Queensland, Brisbane) for technical advice, Adrian Elliott (Bureau of Sugar Experimental Stations, Brisbane, Australia) for donation of partially purified s65tGFP, Danial Bishop (CSIRO Plant Industry, Canberra) for assistance in generating transgenic barley and Joan Vickers (The University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba) for useful comments during manuscript preparation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia E. Vickers
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Gangping Xue
    • 1
  • Peter M. Gresshoff
    • 2
  1. 1.CSIRO Plant IndustrySt Lucia, BrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume ResearchThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesThe University of EssexColchesterUK

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