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Plant Cell Physiol. 2001 Aug;42(8):789-94.

Structure and function of heterotrimeric G proteins in plants.

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  • 1Department of Bioscience, Fukui Prefectural University, 4-1-1 Kenjyojima, Matsuoka-cho, Yoshida-gun, Fukui, 910-1195 Japan.


Heterotrimeric G proteins are mediators that transmit the external signals via receptor molecules to effector molecules. The G proteins consist of three different subunits: alpha, beta, and gamma subunits. The cDNAs or genes for all the alpha, beta, and gamma subunits have been isolated from many plant species, which has contributed to great progress in the study of the structure and function of the G proteins in plants. In addition, rice plants lacking the alpha subunit were generated by the antisense method and a rice mutant, Daikoku d1, was found to have mutation in the alpha-subunit gene. Both plants show abnormal morphology such as dwarfism, dark green leaf, and small round seed. The findings revealed that the G proteins are functional molecules regulating some body plans in plants. There is evidence that the plant G proteins participate at least in signaling of gibberellin at low concentrations. In this review, we summarize the currently known information on the structure of plant heterotrimeric G proteins and discuss the possible functions of the G proteins in plants.

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