A maize embryo-specific gene encodes a proline-rich and hydrophobic protein.


A gene from maize that encodes a hybrid proline-rich protein (HyPRP) formed by two well-defined domains, proline-rich and hydrophobic, respectively, has been characterized at the level of its structure and expression. The proline-rich domain is composed of elements PPYV and PPTPRPS, similar to those found in PRP proteins from soybean. The hydrophobic domain is rich in cysteine and is similar to seed proteins, mainly to a soybean hydrophobic seed protein. In maize, HyPRP is encoded by a single gene, and its mRNA accumulates in immature maize zygotic embryos, with a maximum accumulation between 12 and 18 days after pollination. The HyPRP mRNA can also be detected in ovary prior to pollination. In situ hybridization experiments on embryo sections show an expression of the gene in scutellum and in nonvascular cells from the embryo axis. Functional hypotheses related to HyPRP are discussed.

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