Identification of the auxin-responsive element, AuxRE, in the primary indoleacetic acid-inducible gene, PS-IAA4/5, of pea (Pisum sativum)

J Mol Biol. 1993 Oct 20;233(4):580-96. doi: 10.1006/jmbi.1993.1537.


The plant hormone auxin transcriptionally activates early genes in pea. We have developed a transient assay system using protoplasts of auxin-responsive pea seedling cells to define the auxin-responsive element, AuxRE, of the early auxin-induced PS-IAA4/5 gene. The auxin responsive protoplasts show an authentic hormonal response identical to that observed in intact pea tissue, with respect to rapidity, specificity and cycloheximide (CHX) inducibility of the PS-IAA4/5 transcript. The hormone also mediates rapid and specific induction of chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) activity in protoplasts transfected with a chimeric IAA4/5-CAT gene. The IAA-induced CAT activity is developmentally regulated and is observed only in protoplasts derived from auxin-responsive regions of the pea seedling. Extensive deletion analysis of the PS-IAA4/5 promoter defined a promoter region between -318 and -154 that confers auxin inducibility. This AuxRE mediates auxin-inducible CAT activity in pea cells driven by the non auxin-responsive CaMV 35S minimal promoter. The functionality of this promoter region as an AuxRE was further verified in tobacco plants using IAA4/5-GUS gene fusions. The AuxRE contains two domains: Domain A acts as an auxin switch; domain B has an enhancer-like activity. The A and B domains contain the highly conserved sequences found in various auxin-regulated genes (T/GGT-CCCAT (domain A) and C/AACATGGNC/AA/GTGTT/CT/CC/A (domain B)). DNase I footprinting reveals binding of nuclear proteins to the highly conserved sequence found in A and B domains. The sequence of the A domain does not correspond to any known regulatory elements found in other eukaryotic genes, and the data suggest that this conserved motif functions as an AuxRE. A model for the early transcriptional activation of the PS-IAA4/5 gene by IAA is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Caulimovirus / genetics
  • Cycloheximide / pharmacology
  • DNA
  • Fabaceae / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Indoleacetic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Indoleacetic Acids / physiology*
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Organ Specificity / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Plants, Toxic
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid*
  • Tobacco / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transfection


  • Indoleacetic Acids
  • DNA
  • Cycloheximide