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Protoplasma. 2001;215(1-4):226-39.

Structure and expression of the genes encoding proteins resident in large peripheral vesicles of Phytophthora cinnamomi zoospores.

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Plant Cell Biology Group, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, GPO Box 475, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.


Zoospores of Phytophthora spp. contain several characteristic types of peripheral vesicles. One of these, large peripheral vesicles, has been proposed to act as a nutrient store and in P. cinnamomi has been shown to contain three immunologically related high-molecular-weight proteins, designated LPVs. We have used antibodies directed against P. cinnamomi zoospores and cysts to isolate several cDNA clones which are products of the Lpv genes and encode one or more of the LPV proteins present in large peripheral vesicles. Northern blot analysis demonstrated the presence of three large Lpv transcripts (11-14 kb) in RNA isolated from hyphae which had been induced to form sporangia. Coordinate accumulation of the three transcripts occurred after induction of sporangium formation: no transcript was observed in uninduced hyphae and maximum transcript levels of all three transcripts were seen 4-6 h after induction. Genomic Southern blots indicated that P. cinnamomi contains three Lpv genes, presumably corresponding to the three transcripts and proteins seen in Northern and Western blots, respectively. Partial genomic clones representing two of the Lpv genes were isolated and characterized by restriction mapping and partial DNA sequencing. In the regions sequenced, the genes were > 99% identical, the high degree of conservation extending at least 415 bp downstream of their polyadenylation sites. The Lpv coding regions contained a variable number (approximately 12-18) of highly conserved 534 bp repeats, flanked by apparently unique sequences. Variation in the number of repeats in the Lpv genes was responsible for the different sizes of the three transcripts and proteins. Database searches using the Lpv nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences failed to detect any similar sequences. We discuss the molecular events which may have been involved in the evolution of the Lpv genes and the nature of the products of these genes.

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