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Plant Cell Physiol. 2004 Dec;45(12):1830-7.

Asymmetric localization of seed storage protein RNAs to distinct subdomains of the endoplasmic reticulum in developing maize endosperm cells.

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  • 1Institute of Biological Chemistry, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6340, USA.


Plant storage proteins are synthesized and stored in different compartments of the plant endomembrane system. Developing maize seeds synthesize and accumulate prolamin (zein) and 11S globulin (legumin-1) type proteins, which are sequestered in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) lumen and storage vacuoles, respectively. Immunofluorescence studies showed that the lumenal chaperone BiP was not randomly distributed within the ER in developing maize endosperm but concentrated within the zein-containing protein bodies. Analysis of the spatial distribution of RNAs in maize endosperm sections by in situ RT-PCR showed that, contrary to the conclusions made in an earlier study [Kim et al. (2002) Plant Cell 14: 655-672], the zein and legumin-1 RNAs are not symmetrically distributed on the ER but, instead, targeted to specific ER subdomains. RNAs coding for 22 kDa alpha-zein, 15 kDa beta-zein, 27 kDa gamma-zein and 10 kDa delta-zein were localized to ER-bounded zein protein bodies, whereas 51 kDa legumin-1 RNAs were distributed on adjacent cisternal ER proximal to the zein protein bodies. These results indicate that the maize storage protein RNAs are targeted to specific ER subdomains in developing maize endosperm and that RNA localization may be a prevalent mechanism to sort proteins within plant cells.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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