Purification of gibberellic acid-induced lysosomes from wheat aleurone cells.
Using isopycnic density gradient centrifugation, lysosomes were concentrated in a single region of a sucrose-Ficoll gradient (p = 1-10 g cm-3), well separated from most other cell organelles. Gibberellic acid-induced lysosomes were found to be rich in alpha-amylase and protease but not ribonuclease. The lysosomal band also contained a majority of the NADH2-cytochrome c reductase, a marker enzyme for endoplasmic reticulum, found in the gradient. Examination of electron micrographs revealed that a purified band of lyosomes contained at least 3 vesicle types, ranging in size from 0-1 to 0-5 mum. The significance of these findings to proposed mechanisms of action of gibberellic acid is discussed. (+info)
Male gametic cell-specific gene expression in flowering plants.
The role of the male gamete-the sperm cell-in the process of fertilization is to recognize, adhere to, and fuse with the female gamete. These highly specialized functions are expected to be controlled by activation of a unique set of genes. However, male gametic cells traditionally have been regarded as transcriptionally quiescent because of highly condensed chromatin and a very reduced amount of cytoplasm. Here, we provide evidence for male gamete-specific gene expression in flowering plants. We identified and characterized a gene, LGC1, which was shown to be expressed exclusively in the male gametic cells. The gene product of LGC1 was localized at the surface of male gametic cells, suggesting a possible role in sperm-egg interactions. These findings represent an important step toward defining the molecular mechanisms of male gamete development and the cellular processes involved in fertilization of flowering plants. (+info)
A single limit dextrinase gene is expressed both in the developing endosperm and in germinated grains of barley.
The single gene encoding limit dextrinase (pullulan 6-glucanohydrolase; EC 126.96.36.199) in barley (Hordeum vulgare) has 26 introns that range in size from 93 to 822 base pairs. The mature polypeptide encoded by the gene has 884 amino acid residues and a calculated molecular mass of 97,417 D. Limit dextrinase mRNA is abundant in gibberellic acid-treated aleurone layers and in germinated grain. Gibberellic acid response elements were found in the promoter region of the gene. These observations suggest that the enzyme participates in starch hydrolysis during endosperm mobilization in germinated grain. The mRNA encoding the enzyme is present at lower levels in the developing endosperm of immature grain, a location consistent with a role for limit dextrinase in starch synthesis. Enzyme activity was also detected in developing grain. The limit dextrinase has a presequence typical of transit peptides that target nascent polypeptides to amyloplasts, but this would not be expected to direct secretion of the mature enzyme from aleurone cells in germinated grain. It remains to be discovered how the enzyme is released from the aleurone and whether another enzyme, possibly of the isoamylase group, might be equally important for starch hydrolysis in germinated grain. (+info)
Health aspects of partially defatted flaxseed, including effects on serum lipids, oxidative measures, and ex vivo androgen and progestin activity: a controlled crossover trial.
BACKGROUND: Currently there is considerable interest in the potential health benefits of oil seeds, such as soy and flaxseed, especially in relation to cardiovascular disease and cancer. OBJECTIVE: We therefore evaluated health aspects of partially defatted flaxseed in relation to serum lipids, indicators of oxidative stress, and ex vivo sex hormone activities. DESIGN: Twenty-nine hyperlipidemic subjects (22 men and 7 postmenopausal women) completed two 3-wk treatment periods in a randomized, crossover trial. Subjects were given muffins that contributed approximately 20 g fiber/d from either flaxseed (approximately 50 g partially defatted flaxseed/d) or wheat bran (control) while they consumed self-selected National Cholesterol Education Program Step II diets. Both muffins had similar macronutrient profiles. Treatment phases were separated by > or = 2 wk. RESULTS: Partially defatted flaxseed reduced total cholesterol (4.6+/-1.2%; P = 0.001), LDL cholesterol (7.6+/-1.8%; P < 0.001), apolipoprotein B (5.4+/-1.4%; P = 0.001), and apolipoprotein A-I (5.8+/-1.9%; P = 0.005), but had no effect on serum lipoprotein ratios at week 3 compared with the control. There were no significant effects on serum HDL cholesterol, serum protein carbonyl content, or ex vivo androgen or progestin activity after either treatment. Unexpectedly, serum protein thiol groups were significantly lower (10.8+/-3.6%; P = 0.007) at week 3 after the flaxseed treatment than after the control, suggesting increased oxidation. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that partially defatted flaxseed is effective in lowering LDL cholesterol. No effects on lipoprotein ratios, ex vivo serum androgen or progestin activity, or protein carbonyl content were observed. The significance of increased oxidation of protein thiol groups with flaxseed consumption requires further investigation. (+info)
Human metabolism of mammalian lignan precursors in raw and processed flaxseed.
BACKGROUND: The mammalian lignans enterolactone and enterodiol are produced in the colon by the action of bacteria on the plant precursor secoisolariciresinol diglycoside, which is found in high concentrations in flaxseed. OBJECTIVE: Two experiments were conducted to determine 1) whether there is a dose response in urinary lignan excretion with increasing flaxseed intake, 2) whether flaxseed processing affects lignan excretion, 3) peak plasma lignan concentrations, and 4) plasma lignan concentrations after chronic supplementation. DESIGN: Nine healthy young women supplemented their diets with 5, 15, or 25 g raw or 25 g processed (muffin or bread) flaxseed for 7 d during the follicular phase of their menstrual cycles. Twenty-four-hour urine samples were collected at baseline and on the final day of supplementation. As an adjunct to the 25-g-flaxseed arm, subjects consumed the supplement for an additional day and blood and urine samples were collected at specific intervals. All blood and urine samples were analyzed for enterolactone and enterodiol by gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy. RESULTS: A dose-dependent urinary lignan response to raw flaxseed was observed (r = 0.72, P < 0.001). The processing of flaxseed as a muffin or bread did not affect the quantity of lignan excretion. Plasma lignan concentrations were greater (P < or = 0.05) than baseline by 9 h after flaxseed ingestion (29.35+/-3.69 and 51.75+/-7.49 nmol/L, respectively). The total plasma area under the curve was higher on the eighth than on the first day (1840.15+/-343.02 and 1027.15+/-95.71 nmol x h/L, respectively). CONCLUSION: Mammalian lignan production from flaxseed precursors is dependent on time and dose but not on processing. (+info)
Plant cell-directed control of virion sense gene expression in wheat dwarf virus.
We have used particle bombardment (biolistics) to deliver replication-competent wheat dwarf virus (WDV)-based constructs, carrying reporter gene sequences fused to the virion sense promoter (Pv) or the CaMV 35S promoter, to suspension culture cells and immature zygotic embryos of wheat. While the replication of WDV double-stranded DNA forms (replicons) was equivalent between wheat suspension culture cells and embryos, GUS reporter gene activity was 20-40 times higher in the embryo cultures. Maximum expression of WDV replicons occurred in the embryonic axis tissue of wheat embryos but their expression in suspension cells was compromised, compared with transiently maintained input plasmid DNA containing the same sequences. From these studies, we propose that WDV replicons are subject to a host cell-controlled competency for virion sense transcription. The term competency is used to distinguish between the phenomenon described here and control of gene expression by specific transcription factors. Control of competency is independent of Pv, the replacement 35S promoter and of the complementary sense control of virion sense expression involving specific sequences in Pv. We propose that factors controlling the competency for replicon expression may be present in cells which, as well as maintaining high rates of DNA synthesis, are totipotent. Cell type control of active chromatin, methylation of specific sequences in WDV minichromosomes and/or interaction of virus-encoded proteins with specific host factors are considered as possible mechanisms. (+info)
Reduction of serum cholesterol and hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis in rabbits by secoisolariciresinol diglucoside isolated from flaxseed.
BACKGROUND: Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) is a plant lignan isolated from flaxseed. Lignans are platelet-activating factor-receptor antagonists that would inhibit the production of oxygen radicals by polymorphonuclear leukocytes. SDG is an antioxidant. Antioxidants studied thus far are known to reduce hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of SDG on various blood lipid and aortic tissue oxidative stress parameters and on the development of atherosclerosis in rabbits fed a high-cholesterol diet. METHODS AND RESULTS: Rabbits were assigned to 4 groups: group 1, control; group 2, SDG control (15 mg. kg body wt-1. d-1 PO); group 3, 1% cholesterol diet; and group 4, same as group 3 but with added SDG (15 mg. kg body wt-1. d-1 PO). Blood samples were collected before (time 0) and after 4 and 8 weeks of experimental diets for measurement of serum triglycerides, total cholesterol (TC), and LDL, HDL, and VLDL cholesterol (LDL-C, HDL-C, and VLDL-C). The aorta was removed at the end of the protocol for assessment of atherosclerotic plaques; malondialdehyde, an aortic tissue lipid peroxidation product; and aortic tissue chemiluminescence, a marker for antioxidant reserve. Serum TC, LDL-C, and the ratios LDL-C/HDL-C and TC/HDL-C increased in groups 3 and 4 compared with time 0, the increase being smaller in group 4 than in group 3. Serum HDL-C decreased in group 3 and increased in group 4 compared with time 0, but changes were lower in group 3 than in group 4. SDG reduced TC and LDL-C by 33% and 35%, respectively, at week 8 but increased HDL-C significantly, by>140%, as early as week 4. It also decreased TC/LDL-C and LDL-C/HDL-C ratios by approximately 64%. There was an increase in aortic malondialdehyde and chemiluminescence in group 3, and they were lower in group 4 than in group 3. SDG reduced hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis by 73%. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that SDG reduced hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis and that this effect was associated with a decrease in serum cholesterol, LDL-C, and lipid peroxidation product and an increase in HDL-C and antioxidant reserve. (+info)
Small angle X-ray scattering of wheat seed-storage proteins: alpha-, gamma- and omega-gliadins and the high molecular weight (HMW) subunits of glutenin.
Small angle X-ray scattering in solution was performed on seed-storage proteins from wheat. Three different groups of gliadins (alpha-, gamma- and omega-) and a high molecular weight (HMW) subunit of glutenin (1Bx20) were studied to determine molecular size parameters. All the gliadins could be modelled as prolate ellipsoids with extended conformations. The HMW subunit existed as a highly extended rod-like particle in solution with a length of about 69 nm and a diameter of about 6.4 nm. Specific aggregation effects were observed which may reflect mechanisms of self-assembly that contribute to the unique viscoelastic properties of wheat dough. (+info)