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Isolation and characterization of cDNA clones for RNA species induced by substituted benzenesulfonamides in corn


A search of compounds capable of inducing specific gene expression in plants without affecting growth and development led to the examination of changes in the pattern of gene expression in corn after treatment with substituted benzenesulfonamide herbicide safeners. Following hydroponic treatment of corn with the safener N-(aminocarbonyl)-2-chlorobenzenesulfonamide (2-CBSU), the specific induction of new translatable mRNA species was observed. Replicate copies of a cDNA library made using RNA from 2-CBSU-treated corn roots were differentially screened with cDNA probes made from either the same mRNA fraction used for library construction or mRNA isolated from roots treated with 2-chlorobenzenesulfonamide (2-CBSA), an inactive analog of the safener. Colonies showing hybridization only with the probe made using mRNA from 2-CBSU-treated roots were further characterized to assess the specificity of the induction and decay of the corresponding induced RNA species. RNA blot analyses showed two clones, designated In2-1 and In2-2, contained plasmids that hybridized to RNAs that were induced from an undetectable background in corn roots within 30 minutes after treatment with 2-CBSU. Leaf and meristem tissues showed similar inductions of the In2-1 and In2-2 RNA species after a delay of several hours. In addition, both RNA species were induced in corn by foliar application of 2-CBSU. In contrast, neither RNA species was induced following stress treatments of plants. These results indicate a substituted benzenesulfonamide safener might be used with the promoters from the In2-1 and In2-2 genes to develop a new inducible gene expression system for plants.

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Hershey, H.P., Stoner, T.D. Isolation and characterization of cDNA clones for RNA species induced by substituted benzenesulfonamides in corn. Plant Mol Biol 17, 679–690 (1991).

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Key words

  • herbicide safener
  • maize
  • inducible plant genes
  • differential gene expression