Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 277–287 | Cite as

Isolation and identification of a vegetative organ-specific promoter from maize

  • HaoQiang YuEmail author
  • Muhammad Hayder Bin Khalid
  • FengZhong Lu
  • FuAi Sun
  • JingTao Qu
  • BingLiang Liu
  • WanChen Li
  • FengLing FuEmail author
Research Article


To avoid the unregulated overexpression of the exogenous genes, specific or inducible expression is necessary for some exogenous genes in transgenic plants. But little is known about organ- or tissue-specific promoters in maize. In the present study, the expression of a maize pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) protein encoding gene, GRMZM2G129783, was analyzed by RNA-sequencing data and confirmed by quantitative real time PCR. The results showed that the PPRGRMZM2G129783 gene specifically expressed in vegetative organs. Consequently, a 1830 bp sequence upstream of the start codon of the promoter for GRMZM2G129783 gene was isolated from maize genome (P1830). To validate whether the promoter possesses the vegetative organ-specificity, the full-length and three 5′-end deletion fragments of P1830 of different length (1387, 437, and 146 bp) were fused with glucuronidase (GUS) gene to generate promoter::GUS constructs and transformed into tobacco. The transient expression and fluorometric GUS assay in transgenic tobacco showed that all promoter could drive the expression of the GUS gene, the − 437 to − 146 bp region possessed some crucial elements for root-specific expression, and the shortest and optimal sequence to maintain transcription activity was 146 and 437 bp in length, respectively. These results indicate that the promoter of the PPRGRMZM2G129783 gene is a vegetative organ-specific promoter and will be useful in transgenic modification of commercial crops for moderate specific expression after further evaluation in monocotyledons.


Maize Pentatricopeptide repeat protein Promoter Vegetative organ specificity 



This work was supported by the National Key Science and Technology Special Project (2016ZX08003004-005) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31071433). The authors thank the technical support from Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Maize in Southwest Region.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Prof. H.S. Srivastava Foundation for Science and Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • HaoQiang Yu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Muhammad Hayder Bin Khalid
    • 1
  • FengZhong Lu
    • 1
  • FuAi Sun
    • 1
  • JingTao Qu
    • 1
  • BingLiang Liu
    • 1
  • WanChen Li
    • 1
  • FengLing Fu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Maize in Southwest Region, Ministry of Agriculture; Maize Research InstituteSichuan Agricultural UniversityChengduPeople’s Republic of China

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