Characterization of an expansin gene and its ripening-specific promoter fragments from sour cherry (Prunus cerasusL.) cultivars

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The presence of expansins was investigated in various developmental and ripening stages of cherry fruits by SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting. An expansin gene and three fragments (242, 607 and 929 bp) of its promoter region were cloned. The genomic clone of the expansin gene contained three introns, two exons spanning a 1.6 and a 1.0 kb upstream region. Semi-quantitative PCR analysis showed that this gene was ripening specific. Chimeric promoter—GUS constructs were made and truncated forms of the expansin promoter were introduced into tomatoes by agroinjection and fruits were analyzed for GUS expression by histochemical GUS staining and enzyme activity assays. The 0.60 kb expansin promoter efficiently induced GUS expression in transgenic tomatoes, whereas constructs with the 0.25 kb promoter did not display significant GUS staining. The highest GUS activity was detected in tomatoes containing the 1.0 kb promoter construct. Both large base pair promoter constructs drove the expression of the GUS gene at an equal or higher rate than the tomato E8 promoter.

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