Isolation and sequence of a gene encoding a methionine-rich 10-kDa zein protein from maize.
Gene. 71:359-70. Abstract
We have isolated the gene encoding a methionine-rich 10-kDa zein protein from a lambda EMBL3 maize genomic 'mini' library of the inbred line BSSS-53 and determined its nucleotide sequence. The sequence matches perfectly with a cDNA clone from the inbred line W22 (which has the same restriction fragment length polymorphism as many inbred lines tested) indicating that we have isolated a functional storage protein gene that is very conserved in maize. This comparison also excludes any splicing of any precursor mRNA and therefore any presence of introns. A number of potential regulatory sequences have been located in the flanking regions. The 10-kDa-zein gene represents the last size class in the zein multigene family to be characterized. Its structure allows us now to re-examine the relationship of all the zein proteins and also to compare the structure of a new class of storage proteins that are rich in methionine, an essential amino acid in livestock fodder.
Increasing maize seed methionine by mRNA stability.
The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology. 30:395-402. Abstract
The amino acid methionine is a common protein building block that is also important in other cellular processes. Plants, unlike animals, synthesize methionine de novo and are thus a dietary source of this nutrient. A new approach for using maize as a source of nutrient methionine is described. Maize seeds, a major component of animal feeds, have variable levels of protein-bound methionine. This variability is a result of post-transcriptional regulation of the Dzs10 gene, which encodes a seed-specific high-methionine storage protein. Here we eliminate methionine variability by identifying and replacing the cis-acting site for Dzs10 regulation using transgenic seeds. Interestingly, two different mechanisms affect mRNA accumulation, one dependent on and the other independent of the untranslated regions (UTRs) of Dzs10 RNA. Accumulation of chimeric Dzs10 mRNA was not reduced in hybrid crosses and was uncoupled from genomic imprinting by Dzr1, a regulator of Dzs10. Uniform high levels of Dzs10 protein were maintained over five backcross generations of the transgene. The increased level of methionine in these transgenic seeds allowed the formulation of a useful animal feed ration without the addition of synthetic methionine.
Importance of anchor genomes for any plant genome project.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 95:2017-20. Abstract
Progress in agricultural and environmental technologies is hampered by a slower rate of gene discovery in plants than animals. The vast pool of genes in plants, however, will be an important resource for insertion of genes, via biotechnological procedures, into an array of plants, generating unique germ plasms not achievable by conventional breeding. It just became clear that genomes of grasses have evolved in a manner analogous to Lego blocks. Large chromosome segments have been reshuffled and stuffer pieces added between genes. Although some genomes have become very large, the genome with the fewest stuffer pieces, the rice genome, is the Rosetta Stone of all the bigger grass genomes. This means that sequencing the rice genome as anchor genome of the grasses will provide instantaneous access to the same genes in the same relative physical position in other grasses (e.g., corn and wheat), without the need to sequence each of these genomes independently. (i) The sequencing of the entire genome of rice as anchor genome for the grasses will accelerate plant gene discovery in many important crops (e.g., corn, wheat, and rice) by several orders of magnitudes and reduce research and development costs for government and industry at a faster pace. (ii) Costs for sequencing entire genomes have come down significantly. Because of its size, rice is only 12% of the human or the corn genome, and technology improvements by the human genome project are completely transferable, translating in another 50% reduction of the costs. (iii) The physical mapping of the rice genome by a group of Japanese researchers provides a jump start for sequencing the genome and forming an international consortium. Otherwise, other countries would do it alone and own proprietary positions.