Regulation of sesquiterpene cyclase gene expression. Characterization of an elicitor- and pathogen-inducible promoter

Shaohui Yin, Leng Mei, Jeffrey Newman, Kyoungwhan Back, Joe Chappell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The promoter for a tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) sesquiterpene cyclase gene, a key regulatory step in sesquiterpene phytoalexin biosynthesis, has been analyzed. The EAS4 promoter was fused to the β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene, and the temporal and spatial expression patterns of GUS activity were examined in stably transformed plants and in transient expression assays using electroporated protoplasts of tobacco. No GUS activity was observed in any tissues under normal growth conditions. A low level of GUS activity was detected in wounded leaf, root, and stem tissues, whereas a much higher level was observed when these tissues were challenged with elicitors or microbial pathogens. The GUS expression pattern directed by the EAS4 promoter was identical to the induction patterns observed for the endogenous sesquiterpene cyclase genes. Neither exogenous salicylic acid nor methyl jasmonate induced GUS expression; and H2O2 induced GUS expression to only a limited extent. Although the EAS4 promoter contains cis-sequences resembling previously identified transcriptional control motifs, other cis-sequences important for quantitative and qualitative gene expression were identified by deletion and gain-of-function analyses. The EAS4 promoter differs from previously described pathogen-/elicitor-inducible promoters because it only supports inducible gene expression and directs unique spatial expression patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-451
Number of pages15
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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