, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 805-820

Molecular cloning, genomic organization, expression and evolution of 12S seed storage protein genes of Arabidopsis thaliana

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We have identified a number of genes of the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana that are abundantly expressed during embryogenesis. In this paper we discuss four of these genes, which comprise a gene family: complete genomic nucleotide sequence of two of the genes and partial sequence of the other two shows that they are all homologous to the 12S globulin seed storage protein genes of other angiosperms. The four genes fall into three subfamilies, as defined by cross-hybridization. One subfamily contains two genes in the Landsberg erecta strain, but only a single gene in the Columbia strain of Arabidopsis. The other two of these 12S gene subfamilies contain only single genes in both strains. Thus, the seed storage protein gene family in Arabidopsis appears much simpler than that in other higher plants.

These genes are expressed during the latter half of embryogenesis, a period in which abscisic acid (ABA) is thought to play a role in gene regulation, and known to play a role in seed physiology. We observed no significant difference in the expression profiles of these four genes in ABA-deficient and ABA-insensitive mutants of Arabidopsis, except that the onset of detectable expression of all of the transcripts is slightly delayed in both types of mutants.