Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 86, Issue 1–2, pp 51–67 | Cite as

Characterization of five subgroups of the sieve element occlusion gene family in Glycine max reveals genes encoding non-forisome P-proteins, forisomes and forisome tails

  • Sascia Zielonka
  • Antonia M. Ernst
  • Susan Hawat
  • Richard M. Twyman
  • Dirk Prüfer
  • Gundula A. Noll


P-proteins are structural phloem proteins discussed to be involved in the rapid sealing of injured sieve elements. P-proteins are found in all dicotyledonous and some monocotyledonous plants, but additional crystalloid P-proteins, known as forisomes, have evolved solely in the Fabaceae. Both types are encoded by members of the sieve element occlusion (SEO) gene family, which comprises seven phylogenetic subgroups. The Fabaceae-specific subgroup 1 contains genes encoding forisome subunits in e.g. Medicago truncatula, Vicia faba, Dipteryx panamensis and Canavalia gladiata whereas basal subgroup 5 encodes P-proteins in Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) and Arabidopsis thaliana. The function of remaining subgroups is still unknown. We chose Glycine max (soybean) as a model to investigate SEO proteins representing different subgroups in one species. We isolated native P-proteins to determine the SEO protein composition and analyzed the expression pattern, localization and structure of the G. max SEO proteins representing five of the subgroups. We found that subgroup 1 GmSEO genes encode forisome subunits, a member of subgroup 5 encodes a non-forisome P-protein and subgroup 2 GmSEO genes encode the components of forisome tails, which are present in a restricted selection of Fabaceaen species. We therefore present the first molecular characterization of a Fabaceae non-forisome P-protein and the first evidence that forisome tails are encoded by a phylogenetically-distinct branch of the SEO gene family.


Glycine max Sieve element occlusion gene family Forisome tails P-proteins SEO proteins 



The technical assistance of Raphael Soeur, Christiane Fischer, Claudia Hansen and Heike Hinte (Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, IME) is gratefully acknowledged. We also thank Sascha Ahrens for plant cultivation (Institute of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, University of Münster) and Lena Harig and Boje Müller (Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, IME) for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was funded by Fraunhofer internal grants.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11103_2014_211_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (164 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 164 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sascia Zielonka
    • 1
  • Antonia M. Ernst
    • 1
  • Susan Hawat
    • 2
  • Richard M. Twyman
    • 3
  • Dirk Prüfer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gundula A. Noll
    • 2
  1. 1.Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IMEMünsterGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Plant Biology and BiotechnologyUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany
  3. 3.TRM LtdYorkUK

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