Apple scab (Venturia inaequalis) is one of the most damaging diseases affecting commercial apple production. Some wild Malus species possess resistance against apple scab. One gene, HcrVf2, from a cluster of three genes derived from the wild apple Malus floribunda clone 821, has recently been shown to confer resistance to apple scab when transferred into a scab-susceptible apple variety. For this proof-of-function experiment, the use of the 35S promoter from Cauliflower mosaic virus was reliable and appropriate. However, in order to reduce the amount of non-plant DNA in genetically modified apple to a minimum, with the aim of increasing genetically modified organism acceptability, these genes would ideally be regulated by their own promoters. In this study, sequences from the promoter region of the three members of the HcrVf gene family were compared. Promoter constructs containing progressive 5' deletions were prepared and used for functional analyses. Qualitative assessment confirmed promoter activity in apple. Quantitative promoter comparison was carried out in tobacco (Nicotiana glutinosa) and led to the identification of several promoter regions with different strengths from a basal level to half the strength of the 35S promoter from Cauliflower mosaic virus.
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