A soybean chitinase which has an apparent molecular mass of 28 kDa by SDS-PAGE, and has chitinase specific activity of 133 units per mg protein at pH 5.2 and an apparent pI of 5.7, was purified from mature dry seeds. Based upon the selected part (the residue positions 10–17) of the determined N-terminal 38 amino acid sequence, a 23-mer degenerate oligonucleotide was synthesized and used for the PCR cloning of the chitinase cDNA. The resulting 1340 bp cDNA was comprised of a 5′-untranslated region of 39 bases, a coding region corresponding to a 25 amino acid signal sequence, followed by a mature 308 amino acid sequence (calculated molecular mass 34269, calculated pI 4.7), and a 235 nucleotide 3′-terminal untranslated region including 24 bases of the poly(A) tail. By comparing the deduced primary sequence with those of plant chitinases known to date, this enzyme was more than 50% identical to every class III acidic chitinase, but has no significant similarity to other families of chitinases. The comparison also showed that the C-termininal region of this chitinase is markedly extended, by at least 31 residues. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that this mRNA species is remarkably transcribed from the early stage until the late middle stage of seed development, whilst it is hardly expressed in the leaves and the stems of soybean. Spatial and temporal expression of this single gene imply that this class III chitinase is mainly devoted to the seed defense, not only in development but also in dormancy of soybean seed. This is the first reported isolation and cDNA cloning of a class III acidic endochitinase from seeds. According to the chitinase nomenclature we propose that this enzyme would be classified into a new class of chitinase PR-8 family, together with a Sesbania homologue.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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