Arabidopsis thaliana: gene organization and tissue-specific expression vegetative storage protein (VSP) genes: gene organization and tissue-specific expression

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We have previously identified two cDNAs encoding vegetative storage proteins (VSPs) in Arabidopsis thaliana. Unlike soybean in which VSPs accumulate at high levels in leaves, A. thaliana VSP mRNAs are abundant in flowers. To understand tissue-specific expression and possible roles of VSPs on reproductive organ development, genes corresponding to VSPs (Vsp1 and Vsp2) and their putative promoters were characterized in this study. Genomic sequence analysis revealed that Vsp1 and Vsp2 resemble each other except in their introns, and that these two genes were organized in a tandem array with an interval of 6 kb in a region. The expression patterns of Vsp1 and Vsp2 were examined using transgenic A. thaliana plants carrying a promoter from Vsp1 or Vsp2 fused to a bacterial β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene. The promoter from Vsp1 expressed its effect in gynoecia, especially in styles, the basal and distal ends of ovaries and in siliques, whereas the promoter from Vsp2 showed its activity in vegetative shoots, petioles, peduncles and receptacles of floral organs. These results suggest that expression of Vsp1 and Vsp2 may be developmentally regulated in A. thaliana. In the transgenic plants, the GUS activity was induced by wounding in an area around the mid-rib of leaves. Therefore, Vsp1 and Vsp2 promoters appear to have elements required for both tissue specificity and wounding.

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