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Mol Genet Genomics. 2003 Jul;269(4):526-34. Epub 2003 May 29.

Structural diversity and organization of three gene families for Kunitz-type enzyme inhibitors from potato tubers (Solanum tuberosum L.).

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Max-Planck-Institut für Züchtungsforschung, Carl-von-Linné-Weg 10, 50829 Köln, Germany.


In the potato, Kunitz-type enzyme inhibitors are abundant and highly polymorphic small proteins found in tubers. DNA sequence analysis of 1596 unselected ESTs (expressed sequence tags) from mature tubers of the cultivars Provita and Saturna resulted in the identification of 55 different DNA sequences with high sequence similarity to Kunitz-type enzyme inhibitors. The frequency of Kunitz-type inhibitor ESTs in Provita was four times higher than in Saturna tubers, and none of the Provita ESTs was identical to any of the Saturna ESTs. A phenogram constructed from the deduced amino acid sequences of the inhibitors revealed three major homology groups-A, B and C. Group A inhibitors were all derived from Provita ESTs. Inhibitor groups A and B were more similar to each other than to group C inhibitors, and for most members within-group similarity was at least 90%. Non-conservative amino acid substitutions and insertion/deletion polymorphisms suggest functional differentiation between members of the gene family. A minimum of 21 genes for Kunitz-type enzyme inhibitors (six for group A, nine for group B and six for group C) was estimated to exist in the potato genome. Genetic mapping and the identification of BAC (bacterial artificial chromosome) clones containing more than one member of the gene family indicated that most inhibitor genes of groups A, B and C are organized in a cluster that maps to a single region on potato chromosome III.

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