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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2007 Oct-Nov;45(10-11):767-80. Epub 2007 Jul 24.

Sequence, expression and tissue localization of a gene encoding a makorin RING zinc-finger protein in germinating rice (Oryza sativa L. ssp. Japonica) seeds.

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Laboratory of Molecular Cell Physiology, Faculty of Agriculture, Ehime University, 3-5-7 Tarumi, Matsuyama 790-8566, Japan.


The makorin (MKRN) RING finger protein gene family encodes proteins (makorins) with a characteristic array of zinc-finger motifs and which are present in a wide array of eukaryotes. In the present study, we analyzed the structure and expression of a putative makorin RING finger protein gene in rice (Oryza sativa L. ssp. Japonica cv. Nipponbare). From the analysis of the genomic (AP003543), mRNA (AK120250) and deduced protein (BAD61603) sequences of the putative MKRN gene of rice, obtained from GenBank, we found that it was indeed a bona fide member of the MKRN gene family. The rice MKRN cDNA encoded a protein with four C3H zinc-finger-motifs, one putative Cys-His zinc-finger motif, and one RING zinc-finger motif. The presence of this distinct motif organization and overall amino acid identity clearly indicate that this gene is indeed a true MKRN ortholog. We isolated RNA from embryonic axes of rice seeds at various stages of imbibition and germination and studied the temporal expression profile of MKRN by RT-PCR. This analysis revealed that MKRN transcripts were present at all the time points studied. It was at very low levels in dry seeds, increased slowly during imbibition and germination, and slightly declined in the seedling growth stage. After 6days of germination, an organ-dependent expression pattern of MKRN was observed: highest in roots and moderate in leaves. Similarly to MKRN transcripts, transcripts of cytoskeletal actin and tubulin were also detected in dry embryos, steadily increased during imbibition and germination and leveled off after 24h of germination. We studied the spatial expression profile of MKRN in rice tissues, by using a relatively fast, simple and effective non-radioactive mRNA in situ hybridization (NRISH) technique, which provided the first spatial experimental data that hints at the function of a plant makorin. This analysis revealed that MKRN transcripts were expressed in young plumules, lateral root primordia, leaf primordia, leaves and root tissues at many different stages of germination. The presence of MKRN transcripts in dry seeds, its early induction during germination and its continued spatiotemporal expression during early vegetative growth suggest that MKRN has an important role in germination, leaf and lateral root morphogenesis and overall development in rice.

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