Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Dr. Ryan Austin

2nd Supervisor

Dr. David Smith

Joint Supervisor


Characterizing transcription factor interactions with their corresponding binding sites is crucial for understanding how gene expression is regulated by DNA sequence. A more comprehensive understanding of this process could have benefits in synthetic promoter design and creation of genetically modified organisms. Herein, the promoters of genes exhibiting cell-type specific expression within a single layer of the Arabidopsis root are analyzed to identify cis-regulatory motifs implicated in cell-type specific expression. De novo motif prediction identifies multiple motif candidates overly represented in the promoter sequences of co-expressed genes specific for epidermal, cortex, and endodermal expression. Several endodermal specific putative motifs are further analyzed for positional biases and tested in planta. A priori mapping of known cis-regulatory motifs catalogued in publicly available databases is also performed. Results show that cell-types contain different statistically significant enrichment patterns of both predicted and known cis-regulatory motifs. These results will help future research in designing cell-type specific synthetic promoters.