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Plant gene responses to frequency-specific sound signals

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We identified a set of sound-responsive genes in plants using a sound-treated subtractive library and demonstrated sound regulation through mRNA expression analyses. Under both light and dark conditions, sound up-regulated expression of rbcS and ald. These are also light-responsive genes and these results suggest that sound could represent an alternative to light as a gene regulator. Ald mRNA expression increased significantly with treatment at 125 and 250 Hz, whereas levels decreased significantly with treatment at 50 Hz, indicating a frequency-specific response. To investigate whether the ald promoter responds to sound, we generated transgenic rice plants harboring a chimeric gene comprising a fusion of the ald promoter and GUS reporter. In three independent transgenic lines treated with 50 or 250 Hz for 4 h, GUS mRNA expression was up-regulated at 250 Hz, but down-regulated at 50 Hz. Thus, the sound-responsive mRNA expression pattern observed for the ald promoter correlated closely with that of ald, suggesting that the 1,506 bp ald promoter is sound-responsive. Therefore, we propose that in transgenic plants, specific frequencies of sound treatment could be used to regulate the expression of any gene fused to the ald promoter.

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This study was financially supported by the Crop Functional Genomics Project of the 21C Frontier Program governed by the Ministry of Science and Technology and Rural Development Administration (RDA), and by the Biogreen21 Program of the RDA.

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Correspondence to Mi-Jeong Jeong.

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Jeong, MJ., Shim, CK., Lee, JO. et al. Plant gene responses to frequency-specific sound signals. Mol Breeding 21, 217–226 (2008).

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