Characterization of a set of novel meiotically-active promoters in Arabidopsis

Junhua Li, Andrew D. Farmer, Ingrid E. Lindquist, Stefanie Dukowic-Schulze, Joann Mudge, Tao Li, Ernest F. Retzel, Changbin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Homologous recombination, together with selection, laid the foundation for traditional plant breeding. The recombination process that takes place during meiotic cell division is crucial for the creation of novel variations of highly desired traits by breeders. Gaining control over this process is important for molecular breeding to achieve more precise, large-scale and quicker plant improvement. As conventional ubiquitous promoters are neither tissue-specific nor efficient in driving gene expression in meiocytes, promoters with high meiotic activities are potential candidates for manipulating the recombination process. So far, only a few meiotically-active promoters have been reported. Recently developed techniques to profile the transcriptome landscape of isolated meiocytes provided the means to discover promoters from genes that are actively expressed in meiosis.Results: In a screen for meiotically-active promoters, we examined ten promoter sequences that are associated with novel meiotic candidate genes. Each promoter was tested by expressing a GFP reporter gene in Arabidopsis. Characterization of regulatory regions revealed that these meiotically-active promoters possessed conserved motifs and motif arrangement. Some of the promoters unite optimal properties which are invaluable for meiosis-directed studies such as delivering specific gene expression in early meiosis I and/or meiosis II. Furthermore, the examination of homologs of the corresponding genes within green plants points to a great potential of applying the information from Arabidopsis to other species, especially crop plants.Conclusions: We identified ten novel meiotically-active promoters; which, along with their homologs, are prime candidates to specifically drive gene expression during meiosis in plants and can thus provide important tools for meiosis study and crop breeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104
JournalBMC plant biology
StatePublished - Jul 9 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the research funds that are provided by the Biotechnology Research and Development Corporation (BRDC) to CC, EFR. CC and EFR are also supported by a NSF-PGRP grant (ISO1025881). The authors would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the quality of the paper, and Ross Peterson, Duane McDowell, Doug Brinkman and Roger Meissner for plant care.


  • GFP
  • Homologous recombination
  • Meiosis
  • Plant molecular breeding
  • Promoter
  • cis-regulatory elements


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