Germin-like genes are expressed during somatic embryogenesis and early development of conifers
Germins and germin-like proteins (GLPs) are members of a superfamily of proteins widely distributed in plants. Their localization within the extracellular matrix and in some cases their hydrogen peroxide-producing activity suggests that these proteins are involved in cell wall metabolism during stress responses and developmental processes. Several very highly conserved conifer GLPs have been identified in somatic embryo tissues. In order to gain more knowledge on their potential involvement in the development of this particular tissue, we have characterized a new GLP gene, LmGER1 in hybrid larch. Anti-GLP immunserum and in-gel activity analyses suggested the presence of superoxide dismutase activity in apoplastic proteins from larch somatic embryos. These results could indicate a possible role for LmGER1 in this physiological process. The expression of LmGER1 has been followed during the maturation of somatic embryos and in different organs of young plantlets by homologous transformation with a promoter-gus construct. This promoter was activated in the root cap of young embryos and, later on, in the cotyledons and in the vascular procambium and xylem. Furthermore, the importance of this gene in embryo development was evaluated by transforming embryonal masses with a gene construct encoding a hairpin RNA leading to gene silencing. The potential role of LmGER1 in cross-linking of cell wall components is discussed.
KeywordsCell wall Conifers Cross-linking Germin-like proteins Somatic embryogenesis Superoxide dismutase
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