Inducible transgene expression provides a useful tool to analyze gene function. The moss Physcomitrella patens is a model basal land plant with well-developed research tools, including a high efficiency of gene targeting and substantial genomics resources. However, current systems for controlled transgene expression remain limited. Here we report the development of an estrogen receptor mediated inducible gene expression system, based on the system used in flowering plants. After identifying the appropriate promoters to drive the chimeric transducer, we succeeded in inducing transcription over 1,000-fold after 24 h incubation with β-estradiol. The P. patens system was also effective for high-level long-term induction of gene expression; transcript levels of the activated gene were maintained for at least seven days on medium containing β-estradiol. We also established two potentially neutral targeting sites and a set of vectors for reproducible expression of two transgenes. This β-estradiol-dependent system will be useful to test genes individually or in combination, allowing stable, inducible transgenic expression in P. patens.
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