Inducible, Cell Type-Specific Expression in Arabidopsis thaliana Through LhGR-Mediated Trans-Activation

* These authors contributed equally
This article has been accepted and is currently in production

Abstract

Inducible, tissue-specific expression is an important and powerful tool to study the spatio-temporal dynamics of genetic perturbation. Combining the flexible and efficient GreenGate cloning system with the proven and benchmarked LhGR system (here termed GR-LhG4) for the inducible expression, we have generated a set of transgenic Arabidopsis lines that can drive the expression of an effector cassette in a range of specific cell types in the three main plant meristems. To this end, we chose the previously developed GR-LhG4 system based on a chimeric transcription factor and a cognate pOp-type promoter ensuring tight control over a wide range of expression levels. In addition, to visualize the expression domain where the synthetic transcription factor is active, an ER-localized mTurquoise2 fluorescent reporter under control of the pOp4 or pOp6 promoter is encoded in driver lines. Here, we describe the steps necessary to generate a driver or effector line and demonstrate how cell type specific expression can be induced and followed in the shoot apical meristem, the root apical meristem and the cambium of Arabidopsis. By using several or all driver lines, the context specific effect of expressing one or multiple factors (effectors) under control of the synthetic pOp promoter can be assessed rapidly, for example in F1 plants of a cross between one effector and multiple driver lines. This approach is exemplified by the ectopic expression of VND7, a NAC transcription factor capable of inducing ectopic secondary cell wall deposition in a cell autonomous manner.