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Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 513–522 | Cite as

Enhancement of the methionine content of seed proteins by the expression of a chimeric gene encoding a methionine-rich protein in transgenic plants

  • Susan B. Altenbach
  • Karen W. Pearson
  • Gabrielle Meeker
  • Lisa C. Staraci
  • Samuel S. M. Sun
Article

Abstract

We have constructed a chimeric gene encoding a Brazil nut methionine-rich seed protein which contains 18% methionine. This gene has been transferred to tobacco and expressed in the developing seeds. Tobacco seeds are able to process the methionine-rich protein efficiently from a larger precursor polypeptide of 17 kDa to the 9kDa and 3 kDa subunits of the mature protein, a procedure which involves three proteolytic cleavage steps in the Brazil nut seed. The accumulation of the methionine-rich protein in the seeds of tobacco results in a significant increase (30%) in the levels of the methionine in the seed proteins of the transgenic plants. Our data indicate that the introduction of a chimeric gene encoding a methionine-rich seed protein into crop plants, particularly legumes whose seeds are deficient in the essential sulfur-containing amino acids, represents a feasible method for improving the nutritional quality of seed proteins.

Key words

amino acid enhancement Brazil nut methionine-rich protein nutritional quality plant seed proteins 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan B. Altenbach
    • 1
  • Karen W. Pearson
    • 1
  • Gabrielle Meeker
    • 1
  • Lisa C. Staraci
    • 1
  • Samuel S. M. Sun
    • 2
  1. 1.Plant Cell Research Institute, Inc.DublinUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant Molecular PhysiologyUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA

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