GTP-binding proteins in plants: new members of an old family


Regulatory guanine nucleotide-binding proteins (G proteins) have been studied extensively in animal and microbial organisms, and they are divided into the heterotrimeric and the small (monomeric) classes. Heterotrimeric G proteins are known to mediate signal responses in a variety of pathways in animals and simple eukaryotes, whiole small G proteins perform diverse functions including signal transduction, secretion, and regulation of cytoskeleton. In recent years, biochemical analyses have produced a large amount of information on the presence and possible functions of G proteins in plants. Further, molecular cloning has clearly demonstrated that plants have both heterotrimeric and small G proteins. Although the functions of the plant heterotrimeric G proteins are yet to be determined, expression analysis of an Arabidopsis Gα protein suggests that it may be involved in the regulation of cell division and differentiation. In contrast to the very few genes cloned thus far that encode heterotrimeric G proteins in plants, a large number of small G proteins have been identified by molecular cloning from various plants. In addition, several plant small G proteins have been shown to be functional homologues of their counterparts in animals and yeasts. Future studies using a number of approaches are likely to yield insights into the role plant G proteins play.

Key words

guanine nucleotide-binding proteins heterotrimeric G proteins small G proteins biochemical detection cDNAs expression yeast complementation transgenic plants 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hong Ma
    • 1
  1. 1.Cold Spring Harbor LaboratoryCold Spring HarborUSA

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