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Plant J. 1998 Oct;16(2):133-43.

Properties of proteins and the glassy matrix in maturation-defective mutant seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Department of Biomolecular Sciences, Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands.


In situ Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy was used to study the heat stability of proteins and hydrogen bonding interactions in dry maturation-defective mutant seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana. alpha-Helical, turn and beta-sheet conformations were the major protein secondary structures in all of these seeds. On heating, intermolecular extended beta-sheet structures, typical of protein denaturation, were formed in abscisic acid-insensitive (abi3) and leafy cotyledon (lec) mutant seeds. Proteins in dry wild-type seeds did not denature up to 150 degrees C, but those in dry desiccation-sensitive, lec1-1, lec1-3 and abi3-5 seeds did at 68, 89 and 87 degrees C, respectively. In the desiccation-tolerant abi3-7 and abi3-1 seeds, denaturation commenced above 120 and 135 degrees C, respectively. Seeds of the aba1-1 abi3-1 double mutant showed signs of denaturation already upon drying. The molecular packing in the seeds was studied by observing the shift in the position of the OH-stretching vibration band with temperature. The maximal rate of change of this band with temperature was much higher in the desiccation-sensitive abi3-5, aba1-1 abi3-1, lec1-1, and lec1-3 mutant seeds than in the desiccation-tolerant wild-type, abi3-1, abi3-7, and lec2-1 seeds. We interpret this to mean that the molecular packing density is higher in dry desiccation-tolerant than in dry desiccation-sensitive seeds, which is associated with a higher or lower protein denaturation temperature, respectively. The results are discussed in relation to the physiological and biochemical characteristics of these mutant seeds.

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