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Plant Physiol. Oct 1982; 70(4): 1094–1100.
PMCID: PMC1065832

Biosynthesis of Storage Proteins in Developing Rice Seeds

Abstract

Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoretic analysis of the starchy endosperm protein of rice (Oryza sativa L. Japonica cv Koshihikari) during seed development confirmed that storage protein begins to accumulate about 5 days after flowering. Two polypeptide groups, 22 to 23 and 37 to 39 kilodaltons, the components of glutelin, the major storage protein in rice seed, appeared 5 days after flowering. A 26-kilodalton polypeptide, the globulin component, also appeared 5 days after flowering. Smaller polypeptides (10- to 16-kilodaltons) including prolamin components, appeared about 10 days after flowering. In contrast, the levels of the 76- and 57-kilodalton polypeptides were fairly constant throughout seed development. Transmission electron microscopy and fractionation by sucrose density gradient centrifugation of the starchy endosperms at various stages of development showed that protein body type II, the accumulation site of glutelin and globulin, was formed faster than protein body type I, the accumulation site of prolamin.

The 57-kilodalton polypeptide but not the glutelin subunits was labeled in a 2-hour treatment with [14C]leucine given between 4 and 12 days after flowering to developing ears. In vivo pulse-chase labeling studies showed the 57-kilodalton polypeptide to be a precursor of the 22 to 23 and 37 to 39 kilodalton subunits. The 57-kilodalton polypeptide was salt-soluble, but the mature glutelin subunits were almost salt insoluble.

In vitro protein synthesis also showed that the mRNAs directly coding the 22 to 23 and 37 to 39 kilodalton components were absent in developing seeds and that the 57-kilodalton polypeptide was the major product. Thus, it was concluded that the two subunits of rice glutelin are formed through post-translational cleavage of the 57-kilodalton polypeptide.

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Selected References

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