, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 443-453

Cloning and characterisation of an oleosin gene from Brassica napus

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The sequence of an oleosin gene from Brassica napus has been determined. This gene contains a single intron of 437 bp and encodes a polypeptide of 195 amino acids. The oleosin gene product has an estimated molecular mass of 21.5 kDa and consists of a highly hydrophobic central domain flanked by relatively polar N- and C-terminal domains. The central domain is highly conserved between all oleosins sequenced to date and contains a run of periodically spaced leucine residues similar to that of a leucine-zipper motif. The gene has been shown to be expressed specifically in the embryo, maximally between 9 and 11 weeks after flowering, i.e. during the seed desiccation stage. Two transcriptional start sites have been mapped to -70 and -21 of the ATG and a putative ABA-responsive element and three repeated motifs have been identified in the promoter. These short promoter sequences could correspond to regulatory elements responsible for embryo-specific gene expression. Up to six genes exist in the oleosin gene family.