Isolation and characterization of three cadmium-inducible promoters from Oryza sativa
•Three novel Cd-inducible promoters are isolated from rice genome.•The promoters are highly induced by Cd stress with different temporal patterns.•The promoters can be activated by diverse variety of heavy metals.
Cadmium (Cd) is an important soil pollutant. Developing genetically engineered crops might be a feasible strategy for Cd decontamination and damage prevention. Both genes and promoters are critical for the effective construction of genetically modified plants. Although many functional genes for Cd tolerance and accumulation have been identified, few reports have focused on plant Cd-inducible promoters. Here, we identified three Cd-inducible genes in the rice genome: two tau class glutathione S-transferase (GSTU) genes, OsGSTU5 and OsGSTU37, and an HSP20/alpha crystallin family protein gene, OsHSP18.6. The promoter sequences were isolated and tested in transgenic rice lines using a GUSplus reporter gene. All of the promoters exhibited low background expression under normal conditions and could be strongly induced by Cd stress. Although their strength was comparable to that of the constitutive OsACTIN promoter under Cd stress, their time-dependent expression patterns under both short- and long-term Cd exposure were markedly different. The responses of the three promoters to other heavy metals were also examined. Furthermore, heavy metal-responsive cis elements in the promoters were computationally analyzed, and regions determining the Cd stress response were analyzed using a series of truncations. Our results indicate that the three Cd-inducible rice promoters described herein could potentially be used in applications aimed at improving heavy metal tolerance in crops or for the bio-monitoring of environmental contamination.
Journal: Journal of Biotechnology - Volume 216, 20 December 2015, Pages 11–19