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Guo-qing Song, Hideo Honda and Ken-ichi Yamaguchi

Leaves are usually the target tissue for expressing transgenes conferring resistances to herbicides, pests, and diseases. To achieve leaf-specific expression, a light-harvest chlorophyll a/b binding protein (CAB) of photosystem-II (CAB2) promoter (CAB2-p) from rice (Oryza sativa L.) and the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter were fused to the β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter and subsequently evaluated in transgenic sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas L. (Lam.)]. The 35S promoter-directed GUS activities varied from 46.0 to 61.2 nmol 4-methyl-umbelliferyl-β-D-glucuronide (4-MU) per minute per milligram of protein in leaf, stem, primary, and storage roots. In contrast, the CAB2-p directed an uneven distribution of GUS activities (4-MU at 1.1 to 12.6 nmol·min−1·mg−1 protein); GUS activity in mature leaves was ≈12-fold as high as that in storage roots. In addition, GUS assay in leaf tissues revealed that CAB2-p enabled a developmentally controlled and light-regulated GUS expression. These results indicate that the rice CAB2-p could be used to drive leaf-specific expression of linked genes in sweetpotato.