Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 1069–1078 | Cite as

Maize α-tubulin genes are expressed according to specific patterns of cell differentiation

  • Xavier Uribe
  • Miguel Angel Torres
  • Montserrat Capellades
  • Pere Puigdomènech
  • Joan Rigau


In the past few years many α- and β-tubulin genes of different organisms have been cloned and studied, and in most systems studied they constitute multigene families. In plants, most studies have been done in Arabidopsis thaliana and Zea mays. In this paper, the study of mRNA accumulation by in situ hybridization and the activity of three maize α-tubulin gene promoters (tua1, tua2 and tua3) in transgenic tobacco plants are described. In maize, the expression of these three tubulin isotypes differ in the root and shoot apex and is associated with different groups of cells throughout the distinct stages of cell differentiation. In transgenic tobacco plants the promoters of the genes, fused to the uidA reporter gene (GUS), direct expression to the same tissues observed by in situ hybridization experiments. The tua1 promoter is mainly active in cortex-producing meristematic cells and in pollen, whereas tua3 is active in cells which are differentiating to form vascular bundles in the root and shoot apices. The accumulation of tua2 mRNA is detected by RNA blot in a similar form as tua1, but at a very much low level. In situ hybridization indicates that the tua2 mRNA specifically accumulates in the maize root epidermis. No GUS staining was detected in transgenic tobacco plants with the tua2 promoter. The difference in expression of the specific genes may be linked to processes where microtubules have different functions, suggesting that in plants, as in animals, there are differences in the function of the tubulin isotypes.

in situ hybridization maize promoter analysis tobacco transformation tubulin 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xavier Uribe
    • 2
  • Miguel Angel Torres
    • 3
  • Montserrat Capellades
    • 1
  • Pere Puigdomènech
    • 1
  • Joan Rigau
    • 1
  1. 1.Departament de Genètica Molecular. Centre d'Investigació i DesenvolupamentConsejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasBarcelonaSpain;
  2. 2.Dept. Biología, UAMMadridSpain
  3. 3.Sainsbury LaboratoryNorwichUK

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