Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.
A cDNA of 1.2 kb was isolated from a cDNA library of embryogenic cells of carrot (Daucus carota L.) by use of nucleotide sequences that encode two internal amino-acid sequences of ECP40 (an embryogenic-cell protein with a relative molecular mass of 40,000). A genomic Southern blot using the cDNA as probe suggested that there are at least two genes for ECP40 in the carrot genome. The cDNA encoded an open reading frame of 306 amino acids, and the deduced amino-acid sequence was found to share two motifs, namely SSSSSSEDDGXGGRRKKGXXXKIKEKLXGG and EKKXXXDKIKXKLPG, with rab16 protein from rice and dehydrins from barley and maize. The level of expression of these proteins has been reported to be high during late embryogenesis and to be induced by a plant hormone, ABA. Accumulation of ECP40-specific transcripts started 18 days after flowering and continued until maturation of seeds, but the levels decreased within 24 h after imbibition. ECP40 and its mRNAs were detected in the endosperm and zygotic embryos of mature seeds by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. Exogenous application of 0.1 mM ABA to carrot seedlings did not induce expression of the gene for ECP40, while drought treatment induced the accumulation of low levels of the mRNAs. During somatic embryogenesis, the mRNAs were found at high levels in embryogenic cells and at low levels in somatic embryos at the torpedo stage. Immunohistochemical analysis and in situ hybridization showed that both ECP40 and its transcripts were preferentially localized in the peripheral cells of the clusters of embryogenic cells. In somatic embryos, application of ABA resulted in increases in levels of mRNAs for ECP40 up to the levels in embryogenic cells, but no such increases were observed in ABA-treated embryogenic cells. The pattern of expression of the gene for ECP40 during somatic embryogenesis was basically the same as that of ECP31, another ABA-regulable embryogenic-cell protein of carrot, the presence of which has been correlated with the embryogenic competence of cultured cells (T. Kiyosue, S. Satoh, H. Kamada and H. Harada, Plant Physiol 95 (1991) 1077-1083). The various results together imply that a group of ABA-inducible genes is expressed in these embryogenic cells.
Plant Mol Biol. 1993 Mar;21(6):1053-68.