A nuclear gene for the iron-sulfur subunit of mitochondrial complex II is specifically expressed during Arabidopsis seed development and germination

Alvaro Elorza, Hannetz Roschzttardtz, Isabel Gómez, Armand Mouras, Loreto Holuigue, Alejandro Araya, Xavier Jordana
Plant & Cell Physiology 2006, 47 (1): 14-21
Three nuclear genes, SDH2-1, SDH2-2 and SDH2-3, encode the essential iron-sulfur subunit of mitochondrial complex II in Arabidopsis thaliana. SDH2-1 and SDH2-2 probably arose via a recent duplication event and we reported that both are expressed in all organs from adult plants. In contrast, transcripts from SDH2-3 were not detected. Here we present data demonstrating that SDH2-3 is specifically expressed during seed development. SDH2-3 transcripts appear during seed maturation, persist through desiccation, are abundant in dry seeds and markedly decline during germination. Analysis of transgenic Arabidopsis plants carrying the SDH2-3 promoter fused to the beta-glucuronidase reporter gene shows that the SDH2-3 promoter is activated in the embryo during maturation, from the bent-cotyledon stage. beta-Glucuronidase expression correlates with the appearance of endogenous SDH2-3 transcripts, suggesting that control of this nuclear gene is achieved through transcriptional regulation. Furthermore, progressive deletions of this promoter identified a 159 bp region (-223 to -65) important for SDH2-3 transcriptional activation in seeds. Interestingly, the SDH2-3 promoter remains active in embryonic tissues during germination and post-germinative growth, and is turned off in vegetative tissues (true leaves). In contrast to SDH2-3 transcripts, SDH2-1 and SDH2-2 transcripts are barely detected in dry seeds and increase during germination and post-germinative growth. The opposite expression patterns of SDH2 nuclear genes strongly suggest that during germination the embryo-specific SDH2-3 is replaced by SDH2-1 or SDH2-2 in mitochondrial complex II.

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