Rational design of minimal synthetic promoters for plants

Yao-Min Cai, Kalyani Kallam, Henry Tidd, Giovanni Gendarini, Amanda Salzman, and Nicola J Patron

Nucleic Acids Research, gkaa682, https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkaa682

Promoters serve a critical role in establishing baseline transcriptional capacity through the recruitment of proteins, including transcription factors. Previously, a paucity of data for cis-regulatory elements in plants meant that it was challenging to determine which sequence elements in plant promoter sequences contributed to transcriptional function. In this study, we have identified functional elements in the promoters of plant genes and plant pathogens that utilize plant transcriptional machinery for gene expression. We have established a quantitative experimental system to investigate transcriptional function, investigating how identity, density and position contribute to regulatory function. We then identified permissive architectures for minimal synthetic plant promoters enabling the computational design of a suite of synthetic promoters of different strengths. These have been used to regulate the relative expression of output genes in simple genetic devices.

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