We have analyzed the temporal and spatial expression of genes encoding the glycoxylate cycle enzymes isocitrate lyase and malate synthase in Brassica napus L. to determine whether they are coordinately expressed. Both enzymes participate in reactions associated with lipid mobilization in oilseed plant seedlings and are sequestered in a specialized organelle, the glyoxysome. We have identified an isocitrate lyase cDNA clone containing the complete protein coding region. RNA blot and in situ hybridization studies with isocitrate lyase and malate synthase cDNA clones from B. napus showed that the genes exhibit similar expression patterns. The mRNAs begin to accumulate during late embryogeny, reach maximal levels in seedling cotyledons, are not detected at significant amounts in leaves, and are distributed similarly in cotyledons and axes of seedlings. Furthermore, transcription studies with isolated nuclei indicate that the genes are controlled primarily although not exclusively at the transcriptional level. We conclude that glyoxysome biogenesis is regulated in part through the coordinate expression of isocitrate lyase and malate synthase genes.
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