Targeting Transgene Expression in Plant Transformation

Carol Potenza

Genetically engineering plants with selected genes of the scientist’s choice is a powerful tool that has benefited basic research, agriculture and commercial endeavors. It has also produced an apparent firestorm of controversy as plants created in the laboratory have moved out into the field. Scientists have tried to address the controversial aspects of genetic engineering by modifying and creating new, highly functional solutions that they can apply to their engineering projects. An important part of their solution is the development of a broad spectrum of promoters that target these transgenes spatially and temporally .The use of specific promoters has helped address questions that arise on the environmental safety of transgenic plants, as well dramatically increasing the success of basic research. A large variety of promoters, both of plant and non-plant origin have been or are being developed and are covered in this review. These include promoters that drive constitutive expression in the plant, and tissue-specific promoters from fruit, seed and grain, tubers and root storage organs, and multiple parts of the flower. Root and leaf-specific promoters are included, as are a select number of cell type-specific and organelle-specific promoters. Finally, the development and the evaluation of inducible and synthetic promoters are discussed, as are the relevance and pitfalls of targeted promoter use within some specific applications. C. Potenza, L. Aleman, and C. Sengupta-Gopalan. Targeting Transgene Expression in Research, Agriculture, and Environmental Applications: Promoters Used in Plant Transformation, In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology – Plant, 2004, 40:1-22, 2004.