Bisabolene-type sesquiterpenoids, which have multiple bioactivities, including anticancer activity, are one of the main groups of compounds in the essential oil extracted from Santalum album L. and other Santalum species. Bisabolene synthetase (SaBS) is a key enzyme for the synthesis of bisabolene in S. album, but the regulation of the SaBS gene’s expression is poorly understood. In this study, a 1390-bp promoter sequence of the SaBS gene was isolated from the leaves of six-year-old S. album. A bioinformatics analysis showed that certain environment stresses and phytohormone-activated cis-acting elements were distributed in different regions of the SaBS promoter (PSaBS). Transgenic Arabidopsis carrying full-length PSaBS had significantly higher β-glucuronidase (GUS）activity than the untreated control after treatment with salicylic acid (SA), suggesting that PSaBS is a SA-inducible promoter. Histochemical GUS staining and GUS fluorometric assays of transgenic Arabidopsis showed that the GUS activity directed by PSaBS was mainly expressed in stem tissue, followed by leaves and flowers. Moreover, different regions of PSaBS showed significantly different GUS activity. A 171-bp fragment upstream of the transcriptional initiation codon (ATG) is the core promoter region of PSaBS. Our results provide insight into and a greater understanding of the transcriptional regulation mechanism of the SaBS gene, which could serve as an alternative inducible promoter for transgenic plant breeding.
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