Hierarchical patterns of transgene expression indicate involvement of developmental mechanisms in the regulation of the maize P1-rr promoter

Suzy M. Cocciolone, Lyudmila V. Sidorenko, Surinder Chopra, Philip M. Dixon, Thomas Peterson

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Abstract

The maize P1-rr gene encodes a Myb-homologous transcription factor that regulates the synthesis of red flavonoid pigments. Maize plants transformed with segments of the P1-rr promoter driving a GUS reporter gene exhibit significant variation in transgene expression, both between independent transformation events and among sibling plants derived from a single event. Interestingly, variability in spatial expression is not random; rather, transgene activity occurs predominantly in five patterns that fit a hierarchy: expression is most common in kernel pericarp, with sequential addition of expression in cob glumes, husk, silk, and tassel. The hierarchical expression pattern of P-rr::GUS transgenes suggests a possible model for developmental regulation of the P1-rr gene. Our results demonstrate that variability in transgene expression, a common occurrence in transgenic plant studies, can be informative if adequately analyzed to uncover underlying patterns of gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-846
Number of pages8
JournalGenetics
Volume156
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 30 2000

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics

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