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Genome-wide identification and organization of seed storage protein genes of Cannabis sativa

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Biologia Plantarum


Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) seeds have been recognized as a nutritional protein source for humans and animals. In this study, gene families encoding precursor polypeptides of three storage protein classes, including six 11S edestin, two 2S albumin and one 7S vicilin-like genes were identified and characterized from an inbred line of hemp. All edestins showed typical 11S globulin features but based on the amino acid composition, they were grouped in three edestin types (type1, -2 and -3). Genes encoding edestin type1 and -3 were very close to each other in a DNA fragment of 16 071 bp, whereas the two isoforms of edestin type2 were linked on a different DNA fragment of 8 232 bp and arranged in a tailto- tail fashion. All edestin types were very rich in arginine and glutamic acid, but edestin type3 was the richest in cysteine and methionine. Regarding the 2S albumin (Cs2S) two genes were identified in a fragment of 13 738 bp in a tail-to-head array. Finally, only one 7S-vicilin like gene (Cs7S) that exhibited typical 7S vicilin features, such as the presence of two cupin domains and several N-glycosylation sites, was isolated. Southern blot hybridization is in agreement with the number of genes isolated, and real-time qPCR analysis revealed that all genes are expressed in the seed. The highest expression was observed for edestin type1 (CsEde1) and Cs2S, whereas the lowest expression was detected for Cs7S. The results of this study provide a complete overview of the genes encoding hemp storage proteins and significantly advance our knowledge on the organization of these gene families.

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Correspondence to I. Galasso.

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Acknowledgment: This study was partially supported by the Research Project “FilAgro-Strategie Innovative e Sostenibili per la Fliera Agroalimentare-Accordo Quadro N. 18093/RCC”.

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Ponzoni, E., Brambilla, I.M. & Galasso, I. Genome-wide identification and organization of seed storage protein genes of Cannabis sativa. Biol Plant 62, 693–702 (2018).

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