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Light and abiotic stresses regulate the expression of GDP-l-galactose phosphorylase and levels of ascorbic acid in two kiwifruit genotypes via light-responsive and stress-inducible cis-elements in their promoters

Abstract

Ascorbic acid (AsA) plays an essential role in plants by protecting cells against oxidative damage. GDP-l-galactose phosphorylase (GGP) is the first committed gene for AsA synthesis. Our research examined AsA levels, regulation of GGP gene expression, and how these are related to abiotic stresses in two species of Actinidia (kiwifruit). When leaves were subjected to continuous darkness or light, ABA or MeJA, heat, or a hypoxic environment, we found some correlation between the relative levels of GGP mRNA and AsA concentrations. In transformed tobacco plants, activity of the GGP promoter was induced by all of these treatments. However, the degree of inducibility in the two kiwifruit species differed among the GGP promoter deletions. We deduced that the G-box motif, a light-responsive element, may have an important function in regulating GGP transcripts under various light conditions in both A. deliciosa and A. eriantha. Other elements such as ABRE, the CGTCA motif, and HSE might also control the promoter activities of GGP in kiwifruit. Altogether, these data suggest that GGP expression in the two kiwifruit species is regulated by light or abiotic stress via the relative cis-elements in their promoters. Furthermore, GGP has a critical role in modulating AsA concentrations in kiwifruit species under abiotic stresses.

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Abbreviations

ABA:

Abscisic acid

AsA:

Ascorbic acid

GGP :

GDP-l-galactose phosphorylase

GUS :

β-Glucuronidase

MeJA:

Methyl jasmonate

RT-qPCR:

Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reactions

4-MU:

4-Methylumbelliferone

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30871700) and the Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China (20090204110009). The authors are grateful to Professor Yuejin Wang for providing us with vector samples and to Priscilla Licht for help in revising our English composition.

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Correspondence to Mingjun Li or Fengwang Ma.

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Li, J., Liang, D., Li, M. et al. Light and abiotic stresses regulate the expression of GDP-l-galactose phosphorylase and levels of ascorbic acid in two kiwifruit genotypes via light-responsive and stress-inducible cis-elements in their promoters. Planta 238, 535–547 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-013-1915-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-013-1915-z

Keywords

  • Actinidia
  • Ascorbic acid
  • cis-element
  • GGP expression regulation
  • GUS