Spatial control of transgene expression in rice (Oryza sativa L.) using the GAL4 enhancer trapping system

Alexander A.T. Johnson, Julian M. Hibberd, Céline Gay, Pauline A. Essah, Jim Haseloff, Mark Tester*, Emmanuel Guiderdoni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


We used enhancer trapping with the GAL4 transcriptional activator from yeast to obtain spatial control of transgene expression in all organs of the model monocotyledonous species rice (Oryza sativa L. cv. Nipponbare). Our T-DNA enhancer trapping cassette consisted of two principle components: (1) the minimal promoter-equipped gal4 gene placed adjacent to the right border, and (2) the green fluorescent protein gene (gfp) fused to the upstream activation sequence element (UAS) to which GAL4 binds and activates expression, so that gfp expression corresponds to gal4 expression. Agrobacterium-mediated integration of the cassette into the rice genome often brings the gal4 gene under transcriptional control of local genomic enhancers and promoters, resulting in gal4/gfp expression patterns ranging in specificity from single-cell types to constitutive expression. We produced more than 13 000 enhancer trap lines with this cassette and screened T0 adult plants (1982 lines), T 1 seed (2684 lines) and T1 seedlings (2667 lines) for gfp expression. Approximately 30% of the lines produced GFP, and we identified lines with gfp expression in specific cell types of all major organs of the rice plant. Subsequently, using the GUS reporter gene (uidA), we demonstrated that UAS:geneX constructs can be transactivated in specific cell types where gal4 and gfp are expressed, thus providing an excellent system for the manipulation of gene expression and physiological function in specific cell types of rice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)779-789
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Ectopic gene expression
  • GAL4-VP16
  • Tissue-specific promoters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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