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Cis-regulatory PLETHORA promoter elements directing root and nodule expression are conserved between Arabidopsis thaliana and Medicago truncatula

Franssen, H.G.J.M.; Kulikova, O.; Willemsen, V.A.; Heidstra, R.

Abstract

Nodules are unique organs formed on roots of legumes by soil-borne bacteria, collectively known as rhizobium. Recently, we have shown that orthologs of the AINTEGUMENTA-like (AIL) AP2 transcription factors PLETHORA (PLT) 1 to 4, that redundantly regulate Arabidopsis thaliana root development are involved in root and nodule growth in Medicago truncatula. Hence, it is conceivable that rhizobium has co-opted these genes for nodule development. Whether this co-option requires the presence of specific cis-elements in the promoters and/or specialization of PLT protein function is not clear. Here, we analyzed the qualitative expression patterns of the Arabidopsis PLT1 to 4 promoters in Medicago roots and nodules and compared these with the described expression patterns of the Medicago PLT genes. Our studies reveal that the expression patterns of the investigated promoters and their Medicago orthologs are very similar, indicating that at least all cis-elements regulating spatial PLT expression are conserved among the Arabidopsis and Medicago PLT1 to 4 promoters.