A 13-bp cis-regulatory element in the LTR promoter of the tobacco retrotransposon Tto1 is involved in responsiveness to tissue culture, wounding, methyl jasmonate and fungal elicitors

  • Takeda S
  • Sugimoto K
  • Otsuki H
 et al. 
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The tobacco Tto1 is one of the few active LTR-retrotransposons of plants, and its transposition is activated by tissue culture and is primarily regulated at the transcriptional level. The expression of Tto1 RNA can also be activated by various stresses, including viral infection, wounding, and treatment with jasmonate, a signal molecule of plant defence responses. It is shown here that the Tto1 LTR promoter is responsible for a high level of expression in cultured tissues of transgenic tobacco plants. We demonstrate that a 13-bp repeated motif (TGGTAGGTGAGAT) in the LTR functions as a cis-regulatory element, which confers the responsiveness to tissue culture, wounding and methyl jasmonate. Fungal elicitors also activate the promoter containing multiple copies of the 13-bp motif. Expression mediated by the 13-bp motif is activated markedly by okadaic acid and moderately by K252a, so that both phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of proteins are possibly involved in the signalling pathways. Interestingly, the 13-bp motif contains a conserved motif, Box L (also called AC-I or H-box like sequence) which has been shown to be involved in the expression of phenylpropanoid synthetic genes. Moreover, extended homologies are found between promoters of Tto1 and an asparagus defence gene, AoPR1, suggesting a possibility that the ancient insertion of an ancestral Tto1-related retrotransposon has provided some of the promoter/regulatory sequences, including the 13-bp motif-related sequence, of the AoPR1 gene. Based on the structural and functional similarity between the two promoters, a possible evolutionary role of the regulatory sequences of LTR-retrotransposons is discussed.

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  • Shin Takeda

  • Kazuhiko Sugimoto

  • Hiroshi Otsuki

  • Hirohiko Hirochika

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