Combining GAL4 GFP enhancer trap with split luciferase to measure spatiotemporal promoter activity in Arabidopsis.

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In multicellular organisms different types of tissues have distinct gene expression profiles associated with specific function or structure of the cell. Quantification of gene expression in whole organs or whole organisms can give misleading information about levels or dynamics of expression in specific cell types. Tissue- or cell-specific analysis of gene expression has potential to enhance our understanding of gene regulation and interactions of cell signalling networks. The Arabidopsis circadian oscillator is a gene network which orchestrates rhythmic expression across the day/night cycle. There is heterogeneity between cell and tissue types of the composition and behaviour of the oscillator. In order to better understand the spatial and temporal patterns of gene expression, flexible tools are required. By combining a Gateway®-compatible split luciferase construct with a GAL4 GFP enhancer trap system, we describe a tissue-specific split luciferase assay for non-invasive detection of spatiotemporal gene expression in Arabidopsis. We demonstrate the utility of this enhancer trap-compatible split luciferase assay (ETSLA) system to investigate tissue-specific dynamics of circadian gene expression. We confirm spatial heterogeneity of circadian gene expression in Arabidopsis leaves and describe the resources available to investigate any gene of interest.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Plant journal
Early online date6 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Nov 2019


  • Gene expression
  • luciferase
  • enhancer trap
  • Circadian clock
  • Arabidopsis

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