Deposition of storage proteins
- Cite this article as:
- Müntz, K. Plant Mol Biol (1998) 38: 77. doi:10.1023/A:1006020208380
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Plants store amino acids for longer periods in the form of specific storage proteins. These are deposited in seeds, in root and shoot tubers, in the wood and bark parenchyma of trees and in other vegetative organs. Storage proteins are protected against uncontrolled premature degradation by several mechanisms. The major one is to deposit the storage proteins into specialized membrane-bounded storage organelles, called protein bodies (PB). In the endosperm cells of maize and rice prolamins are sequestered into PBs which are derived from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Globulins, the typical storage proteins of dicotyledonous plants, and prolamins of some cereals are transported from the ER through the Golgi apparatus and then into protein storage vacuoles (PSV) which later become transformed into PBs. Sorting and targeting of storage proteins begins during their biosynthesis on membrane-bound polysomes where an N-terminal signal peptide mediates their segregation into the lumen of the ER. After cleavage of the signal peptide, the polypeptides are glycosylated and folded with the aid of chaperones. While still in the ER, disulfide bridges are formed which stabilize the structure and several polypeptides are joined to form an oligomer which has the proper conformation to be either deposited in ER-derived PB or to be further transferred to the PSV. At the trans-Golgi cisternae transport vesicles are sequestered which carry the storage proteins to the PSV. Several storage proteins are also processed after arriving in the PSVs in order to generate a conformation that is capable of final deposition. Some storage protein precursors have short N- or C-terminal targeting sequences which are detached after arrival in the PSV. Others have been shown to have internal sequence regions which could act as targeting information. In some cases positive targeting information is known to mediate sorting into the PSV whereas in other cases aggregation and membrane association seem to be major sorting mechanisms.