Whorl-specific expression of the SUPERMAN gene of Arabidopsis is mediated by cis elements in the transcribed region

Curr Biol. 2003 Sep 2;13(17):1524-30. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(03)00612-2.


The SUPERMAN (SUP) gene of Arabidopsis is involved in controlling cell proliferation in stamen and carpel primordia and in ovules during flower development. The SUP gene encodes a transcription factor with a C2H2-type zinc finger motif, a serine/proline-rich domain, a basic domain, and a leucine-zipper-like domain and is expressed in a very limited region in stamen primordia and in the developing ovary during flower development. The SUP gene is susceptible to methylation, resulting in epigenetic gene silencing. To understand how the SUP gene is expressed spatially and temporally in its restricted domain, and why methylation of the transcribed region affects early-stage SUP expression, we have identified the SUP cis regulatory elements by characterizing SUP gene fusions. These studies show that the SUP gene has discrete upstream promoter elements required for expression in stamen primordia in early stages and in the ovary in later stages. The promoter activity for stamen primordia is modulated by several positive and negative elements located in the transcribed and translated regions. Several regulatory elements in the transcribed region correlate with the areas of the gene that are heavily methylated in epigenetic alleles; these data provide a possible explanation of how methylation of the transcribed region represses transcription.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA Methylation
  • Flowers / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Genes, Regulator / genetics*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Models, Genetic
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • superman protein, Arabidopsis