The beta-glucuronidase (GUS) activity expressed from the soybean early nodulin ENOD2(B) gene promoter was localized histochemically in nodules of Lotus corniculatus and Trifolium repens. In both the determinate Lotus nodules and the indeterminate Trifolium nodules, activity was found in the parenchyma cells and especially in cells close to the vascular tissue of nodules. The characteristic cell-specific expression of the soybean ENOD2 gene was therefore maintained by the ENOD2(B) promoter in the two developmentally different nodule types. Important DNA elements recognized in transgenic nodules were identified by deletion and hybrid promoter analysis in Lotus corniculatus. An indispensable positive element (PE) and a possible tissue specific element was defined between positions -1792 and -1582 from the transcription start site. Another qualitative control element located between -380 and -53 conferred the ENOD2 characteristic cell type expression on hybrid promoters. This element contains the conserved nodulin gene sequences CTCTT and AAAGAT. In contrast to the ENOD2(B) promoter a chimeric leghemoglobin Ibc3-GUS gene was expressed in the infected cells of both types of nodules. In the indeterminate nodules expression was restricted to the interzone II-III and the active nitrogen-fixing zone III. Interchange of the distal strong positive element (SPE) of Ibc3 and the ENOD2 positive element resulted in an expression pattern different from that observed for the Ibc3 and ENOD2 genes, indicating that different interactions of trans-acting factors are required for regulation of early as well as late nodulin genes.
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