Logo of plntcellLink to Publisher's site
Plant Cell. 1989 Mar; 1(3): 313–328.
PMCID: PMC159764

Characterization of the glycinin gene family in soybean.


We characterized the structure, organization, and expression of genes that encode the soybean glycinins, a family of storage proteins synthesized exclusively in seeds during embryogenesis. Five genes encode the predominant glycinin subunits found in soybeans, and they have each been cloned, sequenced, and compared. The five genes have diverged into two subfamilies that are designated as Group-I and Group-II glycinin genes. Each glycinin gene contains four exons and three introns like genes that encode related proteins in other legumes. Two other genes have been identified and designated as "glycinin-related" because they hybridize weakly with the five glycinin genes. Although not yet characterized, glycinin-related genes could encode other glycinin subunit families whose members accumulate in minor amounts in seeds. The three Group-I glycinin genes are organized into two chromosomal domains, each about 45 kilobase pairs in length. The two domains have a high degree of homology, and contain at least five genes each that are expressed either in embryos or in mature plant leaves. Gel blot studies with embryo mRNA, as well as transcription studies with 32P-RNA synthesized in vitro from purified embryo nuclei, indicate that glycinin and glycinin-related genes become transcriptionally activated in a coordinated fashion early in embryogenesis, and are repressed coordinately late in seed development. In addition to transcriptional control processes, posttranscriptional events also are involved in regulating glycinin and glycinin-related mRNA levels during embryogenesis.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (3.6M).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Alwine JC, Kemp DJ, Parker BA, Reiser J, Renart J, Stark GR, Wahl GM. Detection of specific RNAs or specific fragments of DNA by fractionation in gels and transfer to diazobenzyloxymethyl paper. Methods Enzymol. 1979;68:220–242. [PubMed]
  • Argos P, Narayana SV, Nielsen NC. Structural similarity between legumin and vicilin storage proteins from legumes. EMBO J. 1985 May;4(5):1111–1117. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Badley RA, Atkinson D, Hauser H, Oldani D, Green JP, Stubb JM. The structure, physical and chemical properties of the soy bean protein glycinin. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1975 Dec 15;412(2):214–228. [PubMed]
  • Bailey JM, Davidson N. Methylmercury as a reversible denaturing agent for agarose gel electrophoresis. Anal Biochem. 1976 Jan;70(1):75–85. [PubMed]
  • Bäumlein H, Wobus U, Pustell J, Kafatos FC. The legumin gene family: structure of a B type gene of Vicia faba and a possible legumin gene specific regulatory element. Nucleic Acids Res. 1986 Mar 25;14(6):2707–2720. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Benoist C, O'Hare K, Breathnach R, Chambon P. The ovalbumin gene-sequence of putative control regions. Nucleic Acids Res. 1980 Jan 11;8(1):127–142. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Berk AJ, Sharp PA. Sizing and mapping of early adenovirus mRNAs by gel electrophoresis of S1 endonuclease-digested hybrids. Cell. 1977 Nov;12(3):721–732. [PubMed]
  • Blattner FR, Williams BG, Blechl AE, Denniston-Thompson K, Faber HE, Furlong L, Grunwald DJ, Kiefer DO, Moore DD, Schumm JW, et al. Charon phages: safer derivatives of bacteriophage lambda for DNA cloning. Science. 1977 Apr 8;196(4286):161–169. [PubMed]
  • Beltz GA, Jacobs KA, Eickbush TH, Cherbas PT, Kafatos FC. Isolation of multigene families and determination of homologies by filter hybridization methods. Methods Enzymol. 1983;100:266–285. [PubMed]
  • Bolivar F. Construction and characterization of new cloning vehicles. III. Derivatives of plasmid pBR322 carrying unique Eco RI sites for selection of Eco RI generated recombinant DNA molecules. Gene. 1978 Oct;4(2):121–136. [PubMed]
  • Bolivar F, Rodriguez RL, Greene PJ, Betlach MC, Heyneker HL, Boyer HW, Crosa JH, Falkow S. Construction and characterization of new cloning vehicles. II. A multipurpose cloning system. Gene. 1977;2(2):95–113. [PubMed]
  • Bornstein P, Balian G. Cleavage at Asn-Gly bonds with hydroxylamine. Methods Enzymol. 1977;47:132–145. [PubMed]
  • Boyer HW, Roulland-Dussoix D. A complementation analysis of the restriction and modification of DNA in Escherichia coli. J Mol Biol. 1969 May 14;41(3):459–472. [PubMed]
  • Breathnach R, Benoist C, O'Hare K, Gannon F, Chambon P. Ovalbumin gene: evidence for a leader sequence in mRNA and DNA sequences at the exon-intron boundaries. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1978 Oct;75(10):4853–4857. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Cho TJ, Davies CS, Nielsen NC. Inheritance and Organization of Glycinin Genes in Soybean. Plant Cell. 1989 Mar;1(3):329–337. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Cho TJ, Davies CS, Fischer RL, Turner NE, Goldberg RB, Nielsen NC. Molecular characterization of an aberrant allele for the Gy3 glycinin gene: a chromosomal rearrangement. Plant Cell. 1989 Mar;1(3):339–350. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Chrispeels MJ, Higgins TJ, Spencer D. Assembly of storage protein oligomers in the endoplasmic reticulum and processing of the polypeptides in the protein bodies of developing pea cotyledons. J Cell Biol. 1982 May;93(2):306–313. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Devereux J, Haeberli P, Smithies O. A comprehensive set of sequence analysis programs for the VAX. Nucleic Acids Res. 1984 Jan 11;12(1 Pt 1):387–395. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Dickinson CD, Evans RP, Nielsen NC. RY repeats are conserved in the 5'-flanking regions of legume seed-protein genes. Nucleic Acids Res. 1988 Jan 11;16(1):371–371. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Domoney C, Casey R. Measurement of gene number for seed storage proteins in Pisum. Nucleic Acids Res. 1985 Feb 11;13(3):687–699. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Fischer RL, Goldberg RB. Structure and flanking regions of soybean seed protein genes. Cell. 1982 Jun;29(2):651–660. [PubMed]
  • Fitzgerald M, Shenk T. The sequence 5'-AAUAAA-3'forms parts of the recognition site for polyadenylation of late SV40 mRNAs. Cell. 1981 Apr;24(1):251–260. [PubMed]
  • Fyrberg EA, Kindle KL, Davidson N, Kindle KL. The actin genes of Drosophila: a dispersed multigene family. Cell. 1980 Feb;19(2):365–378. [PubMed]
  • Fukazawa C, Momma T, Hirano H, Harada K, Udaka K. Glycinin A3B4 mRNA. Cloning and sequencing of double-stranded cDNA complementary to a soybean storage protein. J Biol Chem. 1985 May 25;260(10):6234–6239. [PubMed]
  • Goldberg RB, Hoschek G, Ditta GS, Breidenbach RW. Developmental regulation of cloned superabundant embryo mRNAs in soybean. Dev Biol. 1981 Apr 30;83(2):218–231. [PubMed]
  • Goldberg RB, Hoschek G, Tam SH, Ditta GS, Breidenbach RW. Abundance, diversity, and regulation of mRNA sequence sets in soybean embryogenesis. Dev Biol. 1981 Apr 30;83(2):201–217. [PubMed]
  • Goldberg RB, Barker SJ, Perez-Grau L. Regulation of gene expression during plant embryogenesis. Cell. 1989 Jan 27;56(2):149–160. [PubMed]
  • Gribskov M, Burgess RR. Sigma factors from E. coli, B. subtilis, phage SP01, and phage T4 are homologous proteins. Nucleic Acids Res. 1986 Aug 26;14(16):6745–6763. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kaback DB, Angerer LM, Davidson N. Improved methods for the formation and stabilization of R-loops. Nucleic Acids Res. 1979 Jun 11;6(7):2499–2317. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kaback DB, Rosbash M, Davidson N. Determination of cellular RNA concentrations by electron microscopy of R loop-containing DNA. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1981 May;78(5):2820–2824. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kamalay JC, Goldberg RB. Regulation of structural gene expression in tobacco. Cell. 1980 Apr;19(4):935–946. [PubMed]
  • Kanehisa MI. Los Alamos sequence analysis package for nucleic acids and proteins. Nucleic Acids Res. 1982 Jan 11;10(1):183–196. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lee JS, Verma DP. Structure and chromosomal arrangement of leghemoglobin genes in kidney bean suggest divergence in soybean leghemoglobin gene loci following tetraploidization. EMBO J. 1984 Dec 1;3(12):2745–2752. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lütcke HA, Chow KC, Mickel FS, Moss KA, Kern HF, Scheele GA. Selection of AUG initiation codons differs in plants and animals. EMBO J. 1987 Jan;6(1):43–48. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Luthe DS, Quatrano RS. Transcription in Isolated Wheat Nuclei: I. ISOLATION OF NUCLEI AND ELIMINATION OF ENDOGENOUS RIBONUCLEASE ACTIVITY. Plant Physiol. 1980 Feb;65(2):305–308. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Luthe DS, Quatrano RS. Transcription in Isolated Wheat Nuclei: II. CHARACTERIZATION OF RNA SYNTHESIZED IN VITRO. Plant Physiol. 1980 Feb;65(2):309–313. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lycett GW, Croy RR, Shirsat AH, Boulter D. The complete nucleotide sequence of a legumin gene from pea (Pisum sativum L.). Nucleic Acids Res. 1984 Jun 11;12(11):4493–4506. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Marco YA, Thanh VH, Tumer NE, Scallon BJ, Nielsen NC. Cloning and structural analysis of DNA encoding an A2B1a subunit of glycinin. J Biol Chem. 1984 Nov 10;259(21):13436–13441. [PubMed]
  • Maxam AM, Gilbert W. Sequencing end-labeled DNA with base-specific chemical cleavages. Methods Enzymol. 1980;65(1):499–560. [PubMed]
  • Moreira MA, Hermodson MA, Larkins BA, Nielsen NC. Partial characterization of the acidic and basic polypeptides of glycinin. J Biol Chem. 1979 Oct 10;254(19):9921–9926. [PubMed]
  • Moreira MA, Hermodson MA, Larkins BA, Nielsen NC. Comparison of the primary structure of the acidic polypeptides of glycinin. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1981 Sep;210(2):633–642. [PubMed]
  • Needleman SB, Wunsch CD. A general method applicable to the search for similarities in the amino acid sequence of two proteins. J Mol Biol. 1970 Mar;48(3):443–453. [PubMed]
  • Nomura N, Ray DS. Expression of a DNA strand initiation sequence of ColE1 plasmid in a single-stranded DNA phage. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1980 Nov;77(11):6566–6570. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Okamuro JK, Jofuku KD, Goldberg RB. Soybean seed lectin gene and flanking nonseed protein genes are developmentally regulated in transformed tobacco plants. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Nov;83(21):8240–8244. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Sanger F, Nicklen S, Coulson AR. DNA sequencing with chain-terminating inhibitors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1977 Dec;74(12):5463–5467. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Shen CK, Maniatis T. The organization of repetitive sequences in a cluster of rabbit beta-like globin genes. Cell. 1980 Feb;19(2):379–391. [PubMed]
  • Shotwell MA, Afonso C, Davies E, Chesnut RS, Larkins BA. Molecular characterization of oat seed globulins. Plant Physiol. 1988 Jul;87(3):698–704. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Southern EM. Detection of specific sequences among DNA fragments separated by gel electrophoresis. J Mol Biol. 1975 Nov 5;98(3):503–517. [PubMed]
  • Staden R. An interactive graphics program for comparing and aligning nucleic acid and amino acid sequences. Nucleic Acids Res. 1982 May 11;10(9):2951–2961. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Staswick PE, Nielsen NC. Characterization of a soybean cultivar lacking certain glycinin subunits. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1983 May;223(1):1–8. [PubMed]
  • Staswick PE, Hermodson MA, Nielsen NC. Identification of the acidic and basic subunit complexes of glycinin. J Biol Chem. 1981 Aug 25;256(16):8752–8755. [PubMed]
  • Staswick PE, Hermodson MA, Nielsen NC. Identification of the cystines which link the acidic and basic components of the glycinin subunits. J Biol Chem. 1984 Nov 10;259(21):13431–13435. [PubMed]
  • Thomas PS. Hybridization of denatured RNA and small DNA fragments transferred to nitrocellulose. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1980 Sep;77(9):5201–5205. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Tumer NE, Thanh VH, Nielsen NC. Purification and characterization of mRNA from soybean seeds. Identification of glycinin and beta-conglycinin precursors. J Biol Chem. 1981 Aug 25;256(16):8756–8760. [PubMed]
  • Ereken-Tumer N, Richter JD, Nielsen NC. Structural characterization of the glycinin precursors. J Biol Chem. 1982 Apr 25;257(8):4016–4018. [PubMed]
  • Van Ness J, Hahn WE. Sequence complexity of cDNA transcribed from a diverse mRNA population. Nucleic Acids Res. 1980 Sep 25;8(18):4259–4270. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Walling L, Drews GN, Goldberg RB. Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of soybean seed protein mRNA levels. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Apr;83(7):2123–2127. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wahl GM, Stern M, Stark GR. Efficient transfer of large DNA fragments from agarose gels to diazobenzyloxymethyl-paper and rapid hybridization by using dextran sulfate. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1979 Aug;76(8):3683–3687. [PMC free article] [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...


  • Compound
    PubChem chemical compound records that cite the current articles. These references are taken from those provided on submitted PubChem chemical substance records. Multiple substance records may contribute to the PubChem compound record.
  • Gene
    Gene records that cite the current articles. Citations in Gene are added manually by NCBI or imported from outside public resources.
  • Gene (nucleotide)
    Gene (nucleotide)
    Records in Gene identified from shared sequence and PMC links.
  • GEO Profiles
    GEO Profiles
    Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) Profiles of molecular abundance data. The current articles are references on the Gene record associated with the GEO profile.
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • Nucleotide
    Primary database (GenBank) nucleotide records reported in the current articles as well as Reference Sequences (RefSeqs) that include the articles as references.
  • Protein
    Protein translation features of primary database (GenBank) nucleotide records reported in the current articles as well as Reference Sequences (RefSeqs) that include the articles as references.
  • 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...