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Use of Soybean Elongation Factor 1-alpha Promoters for High Levels of Gene Expression

Crop Improvement
Plant Transgenics
Crop Health
College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES)
Finer, John
McHale, Leah
Zhang, Ning
Licensing Manager
Dahlman, Jason "Jay"

T2014-291 Three soybean promoters that regulate different elongation factor 1 alpha genes and have attributes that contribute to high levels of gene expression

The Need

Researchers have isolated and characterized three novel EF1 alpha promoter sequences that are different from other disclosed sequences. The current standard is to use viral promoters, but these require additional regulatory considerations for commercialization. Therefore, there is a need for high expression with native plant promoters. High expression with native plant promoters lead to higher expression levels than many of the virus promoters and because they are native/natural plant promoters, they may simplify the regulatory process for transgenic crop commercialization.

The Technology

Researchers at the Ohio State University, led by Dr. John Finer, have identified and isolated three promoters to stimulate high gene expression in soybeans. The three different promoters all regulate elongation factor 1 alpha coding regions and provide high levels of transgene expression. Although the sequences of the promoters varied, they have similar attributes including a leading intron, contributing to high levels of gene expression. These promoter sequences were cloned and validated via transient expression using lima bean cotyledons (rapid analysis-7 days), stable expression in soybean hairy roots (moderately rapid analysis-2 months), and stable expression in stably-transformed soybean plants (8-12 months). The ability to express a transgene at very high levels is desirable because there are very few promoters that originate from soybeans that have this ability. The researchers hypothesize that the promoters will function at high levels in all plants, not just soybeans.

Commercial Applications

  • Agriculture biotechnology
  • Soybean suppliers


  • Multiple promoters stimulating high gene expression
  • May be applicable to all plants