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Plant J. 1995 Jan;7(1):3-15.

Starch branching enzymes belonging to distinct enzyme families are differentially expressed during pea embryo development.

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Department of Genetics and Applied Genetics, John Innes Institute, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK.


cDNA clones for two isoforms of starch branching enzyme (SBEI and SBEII) have been isolated from pea embryos and sequenced. The deduced amino acid sequences of pea SBEI and SBEII are closely related to starch branching enzymes of maize, rice, potato and cassava and a number of glycogen branching enzymes from yeast, mammals and several prokaryotic species. In comparison with SBEI, the deduced amino acid sequence of SBEII lacks a flexible domain at the N-terminus of the mature protein. This domain is also present in maize SBEII and rice SBEIII and resembles one previously reported for pea granule-bound starch synthase II (GBSSII). However, in each case it is missing from the other isoform of SBE from the same species. On the basis of this structural feature (which exists in some isoforms from both monocots and dicots) and other differences in sequence, SBEs from plants may be divided into two distinct enzyme families. There is strong evidence from our own and other work that the amylopectin products of the enzymes from these two families are qualitatively different. Pea SBEI and SBEII are differentially expressed during embryo development. SBEI is relatively highly expressed in young embryos whilst maximum expression of SBEII occurs in older embryos. The differential expression of isoforms which have distinct catalytic properties means that the contribution of each SBE isoform to starch biosynthesis changes during embryo development. Qualitative measurement of amylopectin from developing and maturing embryos confirms that the nature of amylopectin changes during pea embryo development and that this correlates with the differential expression of SBE isoforms.

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