Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 979–987 | Cite as

Molecular cloning, structure and expression of an elicitor-inducible chitinase gene from pine trees

  • Haiguo Wu
  • Craig S. Echt
  • Michael P. Popp
  • John M. Davis*


We have cloned, sequenced, and examined the expression of genes from pine trees that appear to encode extracellular class II chitinase. Nucleotide sequence analysis indicates a coding sequence composed of three exons interrupted by two introns at locations identical to those found in other chitinase genes that possess introns. One of the genes, Pschi4, potentially encodes a protein that shares 62% amino acid sequence identity through the catalytic domain with class II chitinase from tobacco. In contrast, Pschi1 contains a stop codon in the first exon and may be a pseudogene. Pschi4 genes are conserved in several species of pine, and appear to comprise a small multigene family. Treatment of pine cell suspension cultures with the general elicitor chitosan induced Pschi4 expression. The regulatory sequences associated with the Pschi4 gene were sufficient to direct chitosan-inducible expression of Pschi4 in transgenic tobacco plants, which indicates that Pschi4 is an actively expressed member of the multigene family. The observation that the Pschi4 gene from pine (a gymnosperm) was appropriately regulated by chitosan in tobacco (an angiosperm) suggests that the signaling pathways that mediate chitosan-induced transcription are highly conserved in the plant kingdom.

chitosan class II chitinase defense response gymnosperm Pinus transgenic plants 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haiguo Wu
    • 1
  • Craig S. Echt
    • 3
  • Michael P. Popp
    • 2
  • John M. Davis*
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology ProgramUSA
  2. 2.School of Forest Resources and ConservationUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Forestry Sciences LaboratoryUSDA-FSRhinelanderUSA

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