Two full-length cDNA clones (faEG1 and faEG3, respectively) have been isolated by screening a cDNA library representing transcripts from red strawberry fruits. Southern blot analysis of genomic DNA suggests that the strawberry endo-β-1,4-glucanases (EGases) are encoded by a multigene family. The cognate genes are predominantly expressed during the ripening process proper, although, in the case of faEG3, some expression has also been observed in large green fruits and, at low amounts, in young vegetative green tissues. In agreement with other ripening-related genes in strawberry, also the expression of faEG1 and faEG3 is down-regulated by treatment with an auxin analogue (1-naphthaleneacetic acid, NAA). Differences in temporal expression of the two EGase genes in fruits are not accompanied by differences in spatial expression. The pattern of expression and the sequence characteristics of the two polypeptides suggest that the two strawberry EGases operate in a synergistic and coordinate manner. The protein encoded by faEG1 looks like one of the usual higher-plant EGases (average molecular mass of 54 kDa), while the protein encoded by faEG3 has a greater deduced molecular mass (about 68 kDa) due to the presence of an extra peptide of about 130 amino acids at the C-terminus. Such unusual peptide shows some features also found in microbial cellulases and contains a putative cellulose-binding domain. We propose that the faEG3-encoded EGase might especially hydrolyse the xyloglucans coating the cellulose microfibrils, thus rendering the cell wall more susceptible to the subsequent hydrolytic activity of the faEG1-encoded EGase.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 30, 2004
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