Plant tissue specific gene expression by way of repressor-operator complexes, has enabled outcomes including, without limitation, male sterility and engineered plants having root-specific gene expression of relevant proteins to clean environmental pollutants from soil and water. A mercury hyperaccumulation strategy requires that mercuric ion reductase coding sequence is strongly expressed. The actin promoter vector, A2pot, engineered to contain bacterial lac operator sequences, directed strong expression in all plant vegetative organs and tissues. In contrast, the expression from the A2pot construct was restricted primarily to root tissues when a modified bacterial repressor (LacIn) was coexpressed from the light-regulated rubisco small subunit promoter in above-ground tissues. Also provided are analogous repressor operator complexes for selective expression in other plant tissues, for example, to produce male sterile plants.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF FEDERAL RESEARCH SUPPORT
This invention was made, at least in part, with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture under contract No. 2001-35100-10652, the Department of Energy EMSP Grant No. DE-FG07-02ER63493 and National Institutes of Health under Grant No. GM 36397-18. Accordingly, the U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention.