The seasonal activity and the effect of mechanical bending and wounding on the PtCOMT promoter in Betula pendula Roth

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In this study, 900-bp (signed as p including nucleotides -1 to -886) and partly deleted (signed as dp including nucleotides -1 to -414) COMT (caffeate/5-hydroxyferulate O-methyltransferase) promoters from Populus tremuloides Michx. were fused to the GUS reporter gene, and the tissue-specific expression patterns of the promoters were determined in Betula pendula Roth along the growing season, and as a response to mechanical bending and wounding. The main activity of the PtCOMTp- and PtCOMTdp-promoters, determined by the histochemical GUS assay, was found in the developing xylem of stems during the 8th-13th week and in the developing xylem of roots in the 13th week of the growing season. The GUS expression patterns did not differ among the xylem cell types. The PtCOMT promoter-induced GUS expression observed in phloem fibres suggests a need for PtCOMT expression and thus syringyl (S) lignin synthesis in fibre lignification. However, the PtCOMTdp-promoter induced GUS expression in stem trichomes, which may contribute to the biosynthesis of phenylpropanoid pathway-derived compounds other than lignin. Finally, a strong GUS expression was induced by the PtCOMT promoters in response to mechanical stem bending but not to wounding. The lack of major differences between the PtCOMTp- and PtCOMTdp-promoters suggests that the deleted promoter sequence (including nucleotides -415 to -886) did not contain a significant regulatory element contributing to the GUS expression in young B. pendula trees. © 2007 Springer-Verlag.

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Plant Cell Reports