Promoter strength influences polyamine metabolism and morphogenic capacity in transgenic rice tissues expressing the oat adc cDNA constitutively
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We analyzed molecularly and biochemically a series of transgenic rice lines expressing the oat adc (arginine decarboxylase) cDNA under the control of the constitutive maize ubiquitin 1 promoter. We established baseline biochemical parameters to elucidate the role of polyamines (PAs) during morphogenesis. We measured mRNA levels, ADC enzyme activity and cellular PAs in dedifferentiated callus. Polyamine levels were also quantified in two subsequent developmental stages – regenerating tissue and differentiated shoots. We observed significant (P < 0.05) differences in the levels of individual PAs at the three developmental stages. The amounts of putrescine (Put) and spermidine (Spd) in dedifferentiated transgenic callus were lower than those in the wild type or in hpt (hygromycin resistant)-controls, whereas the amount of spermine (Spm) was increased up to two-fold. In regenerating tissue, this trend was reversed, with significantly higher levels of Put and Spd (P < 0.05), and lower levels of Spm (P < 0.05) compared to non-transformed or hpt-control tissues at the same developmental stage. In differentiated shoots, there was a general increase in PA levels, with significant increases in Put, Spd, and Spm (P < 0.05); on occasion reaching six times the level observed in wild type and hptcontrol tissues. These results contrast those we reported previously using the weaker CaMV 35S promoter driving adc expression. mRNA measurements and ADC enzyme activity were consistently higher (P < 0.01) in all tissues expressing pUbiadcs compared to equivalent tissues engineered with 35Sadc. Our findings are consistent with a threshold model which postulates that high adc expression leading to production of Put above a basal level is necessary to generate a big enough metabolic pool to trigger PA flux through the pathway leading to an increase in the concentration of Spd and Spm. This can be best accomplished by a strong constitutive promoter driving adc. We discuss our results in the context of flux through the PA pathway and its impact on morphogenesis.