Cloning and characterization of a maize cytochrome-b5 reductase with Fe3+-chelate reduction capability.
We previously purified an NADH-dependent Fe3+-chelate reductase (NFR) from maize roots with biochemical features of a cytochrome-b5 reductase (b5R) [Sparla, Bagnaresi, Scagliarini and Trost (1997) FEBS Lett. 414, 571-575]. We have now cloned a maize root cDNA that, on the basis of sequence information, calculated parameters and functional assay, codes for NFR. Maize NFR has 66% and 65% similarity to mammal and yeast b5R respectively. It has a deduced molecular mass of 31.17 kDa and a pI of 8.53. An uncharged region is observed at its N-terminus but no myristoylation consensus site is present. Taken together, these results, coupled with previous biochemical evidence, prove that NFR belongs to the b5R class and document b5R from a plant at the molecular level for the first time. We have also identified a putative Arabidopsis thaliana NFR gene. Its organization (nine exons) closely resembles mammalian b5Rs. Several NFR isoforms are expected to exist in maize. They are probably not produced by alternative translational mechanisms as occur in mammals, because of specific constraints observed in the maize NFR cDNA sequence. In contrast with yeast and mammals, tissue-specific and various subcellular localizations of maize b5R isoforms could result from differential expression of the various members of a multigene family. The first molecular characterization of a plant b5R indicates an overall remarkable evolutionary conservation for these versatile reductase systems. In addition, the well-characterized Fe3+-chelate reduction capabilities of NFR, in addition to known Fe3+-haemoglobin reduction roles for mammal b5R isoforms, suggest further and more generalized roles for the b5R class in endocellular iron reduction. (+info)
Gibberellic acid stabilises microtubules in maize suspension cells to cold and stimulates acetylation of alpha-tubulin.
Gibberellic acid is known to stabilise microtubules in plant organs against depolymerisation. We have now devised a simplified cell system for studying this. Pretreatment of a maize cell suspension with gibberellic acid for just 3 h stabilised protoplast microtubules against depolymerisation on ice. In other eukaryotes, acetylation of alpha-tubulin is known to correlate with microtubule stabilisation but this is not established in plants. By isolating the polymeric tubulin fraction from maize cytoskeletons and immunoblotting with the antibody 6-11B-1, we have demonstrated that gibberellic acid stimulates the acetylation of alpha-tubulin. This is the first demonstrated link between microtubule stabilisation and tubulin acetylation in higher plants. (+info)
Patterns of evolutionary rate variation among genes of the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway.
The anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway is responsible for the production of anthocyanin pigments in plant tissues and shares a number of enzymes with other biochemical pathways. The six core structural genes of this pathway have been cloned and characterized in two taxonomically diverse plant species (maize and snapdragon). We have recently cloned these genes for a third species, the common morning glory, Ipomoea purpurea. This additional information provides an opportunity to examine patterns of evolution among genes within a single biochemical pathway. We report here that upstream genes in the anthocyanin pathway have evolved substantially more slowly than downstream genes and suggest that this difference in evolutionary rates may be explained by upstream genes being more constrained because they participate in several different biochemical pathways. In addition, regulatory genes associated with the anthocyanin pathway tend to evolve more rapidly than the structural genes they regulate, suggesting that adaptive evolution of flower color may be mediated more by regulatory than by structural genes. Finally, for individual anthocyanin genes, we found an absence of rate heterogeneity among three major angiosperm lineages. This rate constancy contrasts with an accelerated rate of evolution of three CHS-like genes in the Ipomoea lineage, indicating that these three genes have diverged without coordinated adjustment by other pathway genes. (+info)
Inhibition of plant-pathogenic fungi by a corn trypsin inhibitor overexpressed in Escherichia coli.
The cDNA of a 14-kDa trypsin inhibitor (TI) from corn was subcloned into an Escherichia coli overexpression vector. The overexpressed TI was purified based on its insolubility in urea and then refolded into the active form in vitro. This recombinant TI inhibited both conidium germination and hyphal growth of all nine plant pathogenic fungi studied, including Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus parasiticus, and Fusarium moniliforme. The calculated 50% inhibitory concentration of TI for conidium germination ranged from 70 to more than 300 microgram/ml, and that for fungal growth ranged from 33 to 124 microgram/ml depending on the fungal species. It also inhibited A. flavus and F. moniliforme simultaneously when they were tested together. The results suggest that the corn 14-kDa TI may function in host resistance against a variety of fungal pathogens of crops. (+info)
Natural occurrence of the C series of fumonisins in moldy corn.
We analyzed 44 moldy corn samples for the B and C series of fumonisins by high-performance liquid chromatography. Of the 44 samples, 32 (73%) were contaminated with both the B and C series of fumonisins and 6 were contaminated with only the B series of fumonisins. The incidence of fumonisin C1 in moldy corn was 71%; the incidence was 11% for fumonisin C3 and 43% for fumonisin C4. Their mean levels ranged from 500 to 1,900 ng/g. This is the first report on the natural occurrence of the C series of fumonisins and fumonisin B4 in moldy corn. (+info)
Relationship between ruminal starch degradation and the physical characteristics of corn grain.
The objectives of this study were to determine the range of variation in the rate and extent of in situ ruminal starch degradation of 14 corns differing in vitreousness and to predict ruminal starch degradability by physical characteristics of corn grains. This study was conducted with eight dent and six flint corns. Ruminal starch degradability was determined by an in situ technique on 3-mm ground grains. Physical characteristics of corn grain were measured: hardness by grinding energy and particle size distribution, apparent and true densities, and specific surface area. Ruminal DM and starch degradabilities averaged 50 and 55.1% and varied from 39.7 to 71.5% and from 40.6 to 77.6%, respectively. Ruminal starch degradability averaged 61.9 and 46.2% in dent and flint types, respectively. The proportion of coarse particles (61.9 vs. 69.6% for dent and flint, respectively), the apparent density (1.29 vs. 1.36 g/cm3 for dent and flint, respectively), and the specific surface area (.13 vs. .07 m2/g for dent and flint, respectively) varied with the vitreousness. Ruminal starch degradability could be predicted accurately by vitreousness (r2 = .89) or by the combination of apparent density and 1,000-grain weight (R2 = .91), a measurement faster than the vitreousness determination. (+info)
Growth phase-dependent subcellular localization of nitric oxide synthase in maize cells.
A protein band of approximately 166 kDa was detected in the soluble fraction of root tips and young leaves of maize seedlings, based on Western blot analysis using antibodies raised against mouse macrophage nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and rabbit brain NOS. NOS activity was present in these soluble fractions, as determined by L-[U-14C]citrulline synthesis from L[U-14]arginine. Immunofluorescence showed that the maize NOS protein is present in the cytosol of cells in the division zone and is translocated into the nucleus in cells in the elongation zone of maize root tips. These results indicate the existence of a NOS enzyme in maize tissues, with the localization of this protein depending on the phase of cell growth. (+info)
Characterization of maize (Zea mays L.) Wee1 and its activity in developing endosperm.
We report the characterization of a maize Wee1 homologue and its expression in developing endosperm. Using a 0.8-kb cDNA from an expressed sequence tag project, we isolated a 1.6-kb cDNA (ZmWee1), which encodes a protein of 403 aa with a calculated molecular size of 45.6 kDa. The deduced amino acid sequence shows 50% identity to the protein kinase domain of human Wee1. Overexpression of ZmWee1 in Schizosaccharomyces pombe inhibited cell division and caused the cells to enlarge significantly. Recombinant ZmWee1 obtained from Escherichia coli is able to inhibit the activity of p13(suc1)-adsorbed cyclin-dependent kinase from maize. ZmWee1 is encoded by a single gene at a locus on the long arm of chromosome 4. RNA gel blots showed the ZmWee1 transcript is about 2.4 kb in length and that its abundance reaches a maximum 15 days after pollination in endosperm tissue. High levels of expression of ZmWee1 at this stage of endosperm development imply that ZmWee1 plays a role in endoreduplication. Our results show that control of cyclin-dependent kinase activity by Wee1 is conserved among eukaryotes, from fungi to animals and plants. (+info)