, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 947-959

A low-temperature-responsive gene from barley encodes a protein with single-stranded nucleic acid-binding activity which is phosphorylated in vitro

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A low-temperature-responsive gene, blt 801, isolated from a winter barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) cDNA library prepared from leaf meristematic tissue, was sequenced. The deduced amino acid sequence predicts a glycine-rich RNA-binding protein (GR-RNP) which was homology to stress-responsive GR-RNPs from several other plant species. BLT 801 is a two-domain protein, the amino-terminal domain comprises a consensus RNA-binding domain similar to that found in many eukaryotic genes and the carboxy-terminal domain is extremely glycine-rich (68.5% glycine). Blt 801 mRNA also accumulates in response to the phytohormone abscisic acid. The protein encoded by blt 801 has been produced as a recombinant fusion protein using a bacterial expression vector. The fusion protein, a chimaera of glutathione S-transferase and BLT 801, has been used in studies to determine nucleic acid binding and other characteristics. Binding studies with single-stranded nucleic acids show that BLT 801 has affinity for homoribopolymers G, A and U but not C, it also binds to single-stranded DNA and selects RNA molecules containing open loop structures enriched in adenine but low in cytosine. BLT 801 has a consensus motif for phosphorylation by cAMP protein kinase (PKA) at the junction between the two domains which can be phosphorylated by PKA in vitro and which, by analogy to animal studies, may have significance for controlling enzyme function.