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Plant Mol Biol. 1997 Aug;34(6):891-6.

Characterization of Zea mays endosperm C-24 sterol methyltransferase: one of two types of sterol methyltransferase in higher plants.

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Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721, USA.


We report the characterization of a higher-plant C-24 sterol methyltransferase by yeast complementation. A Zea mays endosperm expressed sequence tag (EST) was identified which, upon complete sequencing, showed 46% identity to the yeast C-24 methyltransferase gene (ERG6) and 75% and 37% amino acid identity to recently isolated higher-plant sterol methyltransferases from soybean and Arabidopsis, respectively. When placed under GALA regulation, the Z. mays cDNA functionally complemented the erg6 mutation, restoring ergosterol production and conferring resistance to cycloheximide. Complementation was both plasmid-dependent and galactose-inducible. The Z. mays cDNA clone contains an open reading frame encoding a 40 kDa protein containing motifs common to a large number of S-adenosyl-L-methionine methyltransferases (SMTs). Sequence comparisons and functional studies of the maize, soybean and Arabidopsis cDNAs indicates two types of C-24 SMTs exist in higher plants.

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