Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 273–293 | Cite as

Developmental and Cell-Specific Expression of ZWICHEL is Regulated by the Intron and Exon Sequences of its Upstream Protein-Coding Gene

  • Vaka S. Reddy
  • A.S.N. ReddyEmail author


Functional studies with ZWICHEL(ZWI), which encodes a Ca2+-calmodulin-regulated kinesin, have shown its involvement in trichome morphogenesis and cell division. To identify regulatory regions that control the ZWI expression pattern, we generated transgenic Arabidopsis plants with a GUS reporter driven by different lengths of the ZWI gene 5′ region alone or 5′ and 3′ regions together. The 5′ fusions contain varying lengths of the coding and non-coding regions of β-HYDROXYISOBUTYRYL-CoA HYDROLASE 1(CHY1), which is upstream of ZWI, and a 162 bp intergenic region. In transgenic plants with 5′ 460::GUS, GUS activity was observed primarily in the root hairs whereas transgenic plants with an additional 5′ 266 bp region from the CHY1 gene (5′ 726::GUS) showed strong GUS accumulation in the entire root including root hairs and root tip, calli and at various developmental stages in trichomes and pollen. However, very little GUS accumulation was detected in roots of dark-grown or root tips of cold-treated seedlings with 5′ZWI constructs. These results were further confirmed by quantifying GUS enzyme activity and transcripts in these seedlings. Calli and pollen transformed with the 5′ distal 268 bp fused in antisense orientation to the proximal 460 bp did not show GUS expression. Further, IAA-treated dark-grown seedlings with 726::GUS, but not with 460::GUS, showed high GUS expression in specific regions (outer layer 2a cells) at the base of the lateral roots. The ZWI 3′ region (3 kb) did not influence the GUS expression pattern driven by the 5′ 726 bp. The absence of CHY1 transcripts in the chy1-2 mutant did not alter either ZWI expression or ZWI-mediated trichome morphogenesis. Thus, our data suggest that the 3′ part of the CHY1 gene contains regulatory elements that control ZWI gene expression in dividing cells and other cells that exhibit polarized growth such as root hairs, pollen and trichomes. This is the first evidence that the regulatory regions conferring developmental and cell-specific expression of a gene reside in the introns and exons of its upstream protein-coding gene.

Arabidopsis cell division CHY1 cis elements intron and exon sequences polarized cell growth promoter ZWI/KCBP 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology and Program in Cell and Molecular BiologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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