The Hordeins of Barley: Developmentally and Nutritionally Regulated Multigene Families of Storage Proteins

  • B. J. Miflin
  • S. Rahman
  • M. Kreis
  • B. G. Forde
  • L. Blanco
  • P. R. Shewry
Part of the NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 63)


The endosperm of the grain plays an important role in the life cycle of a cereal plant. It develops over a period of some 40–50 days, finally containing about 70% of the total dry matter and nitrogen of the plant. About 50% of the N in the barley endosperm is in the form of prolamin storage proteins (termed hordeins). At the end of development the grain dries out and the bulk of the endosperm tissue (all except the outer aleurone layer which does not contain hordeins) dies. The endosperm therefore provides an example of a highly specialised tissue which has differentiated to carry out an important and unique function over a limited period of time (see1 for a further review). The hordeins have been studied because of their influence on nutritional quality2 and because they are the products of tissue-specific genes. This report summarizes our studies on the nature of the proteins, the genes specifying them and factors controlling the expression of these genes. We have pursued this work using the classical techniques of protein chemistry3,4,5 and genetics6,7 and also by constructing a cDNA library made from poly A+ RNA isolated from developing endosperms.8


Storage Protein Seed Protein Barley Grain Barley Endosperm Hordein Polypeptide 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. J. Miflin
    • 1
  • S. Rahman
    • 1
  • M. Kreis
    • 1
  • B. G. Forde
    • 1
  • L. Blanco
    • 1
  • P. R. Shewry
    • 1
  1. 1.Biochemistry DepartmentRothamsted Experimental StationHarpenden, Herts.UK

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