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Plant Mol Biol. 1997 Aug;34(6):897-911.

Cloning and characterization of the calreticulin gene from Ricinus communis L.

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Trait and Technology Development Department, Pioneer-Hi-Bred International, Johnston, IA 50131-1004, USA.


A full-length cDNA encoding a calreticulin-like protein was isolated by immune-screening a germinating castor bean endosperm cDNA library with antisera raised to the total lumenal fraction of purified plant endoplasmic reticulum. The calcium-binding properties of the recombinant protein were characterized and shown to be essentially identical to those reported for the mammalian calreticulin. Calcium overlays and immune blot analysis confirmed the endoplasmic lumenal identity of this reticuloplasmin. Probing protein blots of endoplasmic reticulum subfractions with radio-iodinated calreticulin showed specific associations with various polypeptides including one identified as the abundant reticuloplasmin protein disulfide isomerase. Characterization of the corresponding genomic clones revealed that calreticulin is encoded by a single gene of 3 kb in castor. The full genomic sequence reveals the presence of 12 introns, 12 translated exons, and one exon containing the last three amino acids of the translated sequence and the 3'-untranslated region of the gene. Northern blot analysis of RNA isolated from various organ tissues showed a basal constitutive level of expression throughout the plant, but more abundant mRNA being detected in tissues active in secretion. This was confirmed by analysis of transgenic tobacco plants containing 1.8 kb of 5'-untranslated genomic sequence fused to the beta-glucuronidase reporter gene (GUS) showed a more localized pattern of expression. Activity being localized to the vasculature (phloem, root hairs and root tip) in vegetative tissue, and being strongly expressed in the floral organs including the developing and germinating seed.

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