, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 51-59

Systemically wound-responsive genes in poplar trees encode proteins similar to sweet potato sporamins and legume Kunitz trypsin inhibitors

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Abstract

When the lower leaves of hybrid poplar trees are mechanically wounded, several novel mRNAs accumulate in the unwounded upper leaves (Parsons TJ, Bradshaw HD, Gordon MP: Systemic accumulation of specific mRNAs in response to wounding in poplar trees, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, in press). A partial cDNA clone corresponding to a transcript from the wound-responsive gene designated win 3 (wound-inducible) has been cloned by differential hybridization to 32P-labelled cDNA from the leaves of wounded trees. Northern blots show a large accumulation of win 3 transcripts in the unwounded leaves of wounded trees. Southern blot analysis of poplar DNA suggests that win 3 is a member of a multigene family. The nucleotide sequences of several win 3 cDNA clones have been determined, indicating that at least three win 3 gene family members are transcribed. A genomic clone of a win 3 gene family member has been isolated and a 1.5 kb Hind III fragment containing the predicted protein-coding and 5′ upstream regions has been sequenced. The putative win 3 gene product is similar to the major soluble proteins of sweet potato tubers, sporamin A and sporamin B. Both Win3 and the sporamins share significant amino acid sequence identity with Kunitz-type trypsin inhibitors from legume seeds. The Kunitz family of proteinase inhibitors thus joins three other proteinase inhibitor families which are systemically responsive to wounding.