Logo of plntcellLink to Publisher's site
Plant Cell. 1997 Sep; 9(9): 1683–1696.
PMCID: PMC157043

Coexpression of the maize delta-zein and beta-zein genes results in stable accumulation of delta-zein in endoplasmic reticulum-derived protein bodies formed by beta-zein.


Zeins, the major seed storage proteins of maize, are of four distinct types: alpha, beta, delta, and gamma. They are synthesized on the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in a sequential manner and deposited in ER-derived protein bodies. We investigated the potential for producing sulfur-rich beta-zein and delta-zein proteins in leaf and seed tissues by expressing the corresponding genes in a constitutive manner in transgenic tobacco. The delta-zein and beta-zein, when synthesized individually, were stable in the vegetative tissues and were deposited in unique, zein-specific ER-derived protein bodies. Coexpression of delta-zein and beta-zein genes, however, showed that delta-zein was colocalized in beta-zein-containing protein bodies and that the level of delta-zein was fivefold higher in delta-/beta-zein plants than in delta-zein plants. We conclude that delta-zein interacts with beta-zein and that the interaction has a stabilizing effect on delta-zein.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (5.0M).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Argos P, Pedersen K, Marks MD, Larkins BA. A structural model for maize zein proteins. J Biol Chem. 1982 Sep 10;257(17):9984–9990. [PubMed]
  • Bagga S, Adams H, Kemp JD, Sengupta-Gopalan C. Accumulation of 15-Kilodalton Zein in Novel Protein Bodies in Transgenic Tobacco. Plant Physiol. 1995 Jan;107(1):13–23. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Campos N, Palau J, Torrent M, Ludevid D. Signal recognition-like particles are present in maize. J Biol Chem. 1988 Jul 15;263(20):9646–9650. [PubMed]
  • Coleman CE, Herman EM, Takasaki K, Larkins BA. The maize gamma-zein sequesters alpha-zein and stabilizes its accumulation in protein bodies of transgenic tobacco endosperm. Plant Cell. 1996 Dec;8(12):2335–2345. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Denecke J, De Rycke R, Botterman J. Plant and mammalian sorting signals for protein retention in the endoplasmic reticulum contain a conserved epitope. EMBO J. 1992 Jun;11(6):2345–2355. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Galili G, Altschuler Y, Levanony H. Assembly and transport of seed storage proteins. Trends Cell Biol. 1993 Dec;3(12):437–442. [PubMed]
  • Geli MI, Torrent M, Ludevid D. Two Structural Domains Mediate Two Sequential Events in [gamma]-Zein Targeting: Protein Endoplasmic Reticulum Retention and Protein Body Formation. Plant Cell. 1994 Dec;6(12):1911–1922. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Gething MJ, Sambrook J. Protein folding in the cell. Nature. 1992 Jan 2;355(6355):33–45. [PubMed]
  • Hoffman LM, Donaldson DD, Bookland R, Rashka K, Herman EM. Synthesis and protein body deposition of maize 15-kd zein in transgenic tobacco seeds. EMBO J. 1987 Nov;6(11):3213–3221. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • A simple and general method for transferring genes into plants. Science. 1985 Mar 8;227(4691):1229–1231. [PubMed]
  • Kirihara JA, Hunsperger JP, Mahoney WC, Messing JW. Differential expression of a gene for a methionine-rich storage protein in maize. Mol Gen Genet. 1988 Mar;211(3):477–484. [PubMed]
  • Laemmli UK. Cleavage of structural proteins during the assembly of the head of bacteriophage T4. Nature. 1970 Aug 15;227(5259):680–685. [PubMed]
  • Larkins BA, Hurkman WJ. Synthesis and deposition of zein in protein bodies of maize endosperm. Plant Physiol. 1978 Aug;62(2):256–263. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lee DH, Bennett S, Pedersen K. Evidence against a potential endoplasmic reticulum transmembrane domain of 27K zein expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Protein Eng. 1995 Jan;8(1):91–96. [PubMed]
  • Lending CR, Larkins BA. Changes in the zein composition of protein bodies during maize endosperm development. Plant Cell. 1989 Oct;1(10):1011–1023. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Li X, Wu Y, Zhang DZ, Gillikin JW, Boston RS, Franceschi VR, Okita TW. Rice prolamine protein body biogenesis: a BiP-mediated process. Science. 1993 Nov 12;262(5136):1054–1056. [PubMed]
  • Li X, Franceschi VR, Okita TW. Segregation of storage protein mRNAs on the rough endoplasmic reticulum membranes of rice endosperm cells. Cell. 1993 Mar 26;72(6):869–879. [PubMed]
  • Marocco A, Santucci A, Cerioli S, Motto M, Di Fonzo N, Thompson R, Salamini F. Three high-lysine mutations control the level of ATP-binding HSP70-like proteins in the maize endosperm. Plant Cell. 1991 May;3(5):507–515. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Pedersen K, Argos P, Naravana SV, Larkins BA. Sequence analysis and characterization of a maize gene encoding a high-sulfur zein protein of Mr 15,000. J Biol Chem. 1986 May 15;261(14):6279–6284. [PubMed]
  • Pelham HR. The retention signal for soluble proteins of the endoplasmic reticulum. Trends Biochem Sci. 1990 Dec;15(12):483–486. [PubMed]
  • Pueyo JJ, Chrispeels MJ, Herman EM. Degradation of transport-competent destabilized phaseolin with a signal for retention in the endoplasmic reticulum occurs in the vacuole. Planta. 1995;196(3):586–596. [PubMed]
  • REYNOLDS ES. The use of lead citrate at high pH as an electron-opaque stain in electron microscopy. J Cell Biol. 1963 Apr;17:208–212. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Schernthaner JP, Matzke MA, Matzke AJ. Endosperm-specific activity of a zein gene promoter in transgenic tobacco plants. EMBO J. 1988 May;7(5):1249–1255. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Shewry PR, Napier JA, Tatham AS. Seed storage proteins: structures and biosynthesis. Plant Cell. 1995 Jul;7(7):945–956. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Thompson GA, Larkins BA. Structural elements regulating zein gene expression. Bioessays. 1989 Apr;10(4):108–113. [PubMed]
  • Torrent M, Geli MI, Ruiz-Avila L, Canals JM, Puigdomènech P, Ludevid D. Role of structural domains for maize gamma-zein retention in Xenopus oocytes. Planta. 1994;192(4):512–518. [PubMed]
  • Wallace JC, Galili G, Kawata EE, Cuellar RE, Shotwell MA, Larkins BA. Aggregation of lysine-containing zeins into protein bodies in Xenopus oocytes. Science. 1988 Apr 29;240(4852):662–664. [PubMed]

Articles from The Plant Cell are provided here courtesy of American Society of Plant Biologists


Save items

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem chemical substance records that cite the current articles. These references are taken from those provided on submitted PubChem chemical substance records.

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...