Transgenic hybrid aspens (Populus tremuloides × P. tremula) were produced by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and confirmed by polymerase chain reaction. Three promoters (CaMV 35S, Heat shock, and Rol C) were used to drive transcription of chimeric genes -glucuronidase (GUS), npt-II, and rol B. Stem sections in ≈100 mm thick, leaf blades, and root tips of transgenic aspen were treated with X-Gluc solution for 2 to 12 h in a 37 °C incubator and fixed in a solution containing 5% formaldehyde, 5% acetic acid, and 20% ethanol (FAA) for 10 min. After washing with 50% ethanol twice and clearing with absolute ethanol until free of chlorophyll, the GUS expression (localization and intensity of blue staining) in leaf, stem, and root at different growth stages were evaluated and photographed under the light microscope. When CaMV35S and rol C were used as promoters, the GUS gene was expressed in all parts of mature stem except pith, with the strongest activity in phloem. The heat shock promoter gave rise to very strong expression only in epidermis and phloem. In the young stem, GUS activity was detected in epidermis, parenchyma, vascular cambium, and primary xylem in CaMV35S-GUS transformed aspen shoots. The rol C promoter produced GUS gene expression in all stem tissues. When the heat shock promoter was used, the GUS gene expressed in a more tissue-specific manner, especially in mature stems, with activity mainly in parenchyma. In young leaf tissues, the GUS activity was primarily located in veins and mesophyll. In the mature leaves, no blue staining was found in the main vein. In root tip, the GUS gene driven by CaMV35S and heat shock promoters were expressed in the columella, vascular, and root apical meristem with very strong expression in the root apical meristem. Aspen plants transformed by rol C-Gus construct showed less or no expression in the columella.
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