Transgenic Research

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 143–154 | Cite as

Bi-directional Duplex Promoters with Duplicated Enhancers Significantly Increase Transgene Expression in Grape and Tobacco

  • Zhijian T. Li
  • Subramamnian Jayasankar
  • D.J. GrayEmail author


Novel bi-directional duplex promoters (BDDP) were constructed by placing two identical core promoters divergently on both upstream and downstream sides of their duplicated enhancer elements. Estimates of promoter function were obtained by creating versions of CaMV 35S and CsVMV BDDPs that contained reporter marker genes encoding β-glucuronidase (GUS) and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) interchangeably linked either to the upstream or downstream core promoters. GUS was used for quantitative analysis of promoter function, whereas, EGFP allowed visual qualitative evaluation. In addition, the GUS and EGFP genes placed in downstream positions were modified by translational fusion with neomycin phosphotransferase (NPTII) to allow simultaneous monitoring of promoter activity and selection of stable transformants. These versions of BDDP were compared with each other and with equivalent unidirectional constructs by evaluating their expression in grape and tobacco. For 35S promoter constructs tested in grape somatic embryos (SE), BDDP exhibited transient GUS expression 206- and 300-fold greater in downstream and upstream configurations, respectively, compared to a unidirectional 35S core promoter. Compared with a unidirectional double enhanced 35S promoter, BDDPs exhibited 0.5- and 3-fold increased GUS expression from downstream and upstream core promoters, respectively. The same differences in expression levels determined quantitatively with GUS were distinguished qualitatively with EGFP. Constructs using CsVMV core promoters yielded results relative to those obtained with 35S promoter. For example, the upstream BDDP CsVMV core promoter provided a 200-fold increase in GUS expression compared to a unidirectional core promoter. However, CsVMV promoter was found to have higher promoter activity than 35S promoter in both BDDP and unidirectional constructs. Incorporation of an additional duplicated enhancer element to BDDPs resulted in increased expression. For example, a 35S BDDP with two divergently arranged duplicated enhancer elements resulted in over a 6-fold increase in GUS expression in stably transformed tobacco plants compared to a BDDP with one duplicated enhancer element. Data demonstrate that BDDP composed of divergently-arranged core promoters separated by duplicated enhancers, all derived from a single promoter sequence, can be used to significantly enhance transgene expression and to direct synchronized expression of multiple transgenes.

bi-directional duplex promoter gene expression grape (Vitis viniferapromoter activity tobacco (Nicotiana tabacumtransgenic plants 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhijian T. Li
    • 1
  • Subramamnian Jayasankar
    • 2
  • D.J. Gray
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural SciencesUniversity of FloridaApopkaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant Agriculture, Ontario Agricultural CollegeUniversity of GuelphVineland StationCanada

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