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Free Content Development of a methoxyfenozide-responsive gene switch for applications in plants

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The ecdysone receptor (EcR) has been used to develop gene switches for conditional regulation of transgene expression in plants and humans. All EcR-based gene switches developed to date for use in plants are monopartate and require micromolar concentrations of ligand for activation of the transgene; this has limited the use of these gene switches. We have developed a Choristoneura fumiferana ecdysone receptor (CfEcR)-based two-hybrid gene switch that works through the formation of a functional heterodimer between EcR and the retinoid X receptor (RXR) upon application of the chemical ligand methoxyfenozide. Methoxyfenozide is already registered for field use with an excellent safety profile, and it has potential as a gene switch ligand for applications in the field. The receptor constructs were prepared by fusing DEF domains (hinge region plus ligand-binding domain) of CfEcR to the GAL4 DNA-binding domain and EF domains (ligand-binding domain) of ultraspiracle from Choristoneura fumiferana (CfUSP) or RXR from Locusta migratoria (LmRXR), Mus musculus (MmRXR) or Homo sapiens (HsRXR) to the VP16 activation domain. These receptor constructs were tested for their ability to induce expression of the luciferase gene placed under the control of 5× GAL4 response elements and −46 35S minimal promoter in tobacco, corn and soybean protoplasts and in transgenic Arabidopsis and tobacco plants. By adopting the two-hybrid format, the sensitivity of the CfEcR gene switch has been improved from micromolar to nanomolar concentrations of methoxyfenozide. The sensitivity of the CfEcR + LmRXR two-hybrid switch was 25 to 625 times greater than the monopartate gene switch, depending on the plant species tested.
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Keywords: methoxyfenozide; monopartate gene switch; retinoid X receptor; transgenic plants; two-hybrid gene switch

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Plant and Soil Sciences Department, 1405 Veterans Road, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA 40546-0312 2: Department of Entomology, 1100 Nicholasvillie Road, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA 40546-0091

Publication date: February 1, 2006

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