Plant tissue culture methods, such as somatic embryogenesis, are attractive alternatives to traditional breeding methods for plant propagation. However, they often suffer from limited efficiency. Somatic embryogenesis receptor kinase (SERK
)1 is a marker gene of early somatic embryogenesis in several plants, including pineapple. It can be selectively induced and promotes a key step in somatic embryogenesis. We investigated the embryonic cell-specific transcriptional regulation of AcSERK1
by constructing a series of vectors carrying the GUS
(Beta-glucuronidase) reporter gene under the control of different candidate cis
-regulatory sequences. These vectors were transfected into both embryonic and non-embryonic callus, and three immature embryo stages and the embryonic-specific activity of the promoter fragments was analyzed. We found that the activity of the regulatory sequence of AcSERK1
lacking −983 nt ~−880 nt, which included the transcription initiation site, was significantly reduced in the embryonic callus of pineapple, accompanied by the loss of embryonic cell-specific promoter activity. Thus, this fragment is an essential functional segment with highly specific promoter activity for embryonic cells, and it is active only from the early stages of somatic embryo development to the globular embryo stage. This study lays the foundation for identifying mechanisms that enhance the efficiency of somatic embryogenesis in pineapple and other plants.
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