• gene expression;
  • cis-acting element;
  • DRE;
  • ABRE;
  • coupling element


Many abiotic stress-inducible genes contain two cis-acting elements, namely a dehydration-responsive element (DRE; TACCGACAT) and an ABA-responsive element (ABRE; ACGTGG/TC), in their promoter regions. We precisely analyzed the 120 bp promoter region (−174 to −55) of the Arabidopsis rd29A gene whose expression is induced by dehydration, high-salinity, low-temperature, and abscisic acid (ABA) treatments and whose 120 bp promoter region contains the DRE, DRE/CRT-core motif (A/GCCGAC), and ABRE sequences. Deletion and base substitution analyses of this region showed that the DRE-core motif functions as DRE and that the DRE/DRE-core motif could be a coupling element of ABRE. Gel mobility shift assays revealed that DRE-binding proteins (DREB1s/CBFs and DREB2s) bind to both DRE and the DRE-core motif and that ABRE-binding proteins (AREBs/ABFs) bind to ABRE in the 120 bp promoter region. In addition, transactivation experiments using Arabidopsis leaf protoplasts showed that DREBs and AREBs cumulatively transactivate the expression of a GUS reporter gene fused to the 120 bp promoter region of rd29A. These results indicate that DRE and ABRE are interdependent in the ABA-responsive expression of the rd29A gene in response to ABA in Arabidopsis.