Urtica dioica agglutinin (UDA) has previously been found in roots and rhizomes of stinging nettles as a mixture of UDA- isolectins. Protein and cDNA sequencing have shown that mature UDA is composed of two hevein domains and is processed from a precursor protein. The precursor contains a signal peptide, two in-tandem hevein domains, a hinge region and a carboxyl-terminal chitinase domain. Genomic fragments encoding precursors for UDA-isolectins have been amplified by five independent polymerase chain reactions on genomic DNA from stinging nettle ecotype Weerselo. One amplified gene was completely sequenced. As compared to the published cDNA sequence, the genomic sequence contains, besides two basepair substitutions, two introns located at the same positions as in other plant chitinases. By partial sequence analysis of 40 amplified genes, 16 different genes were identified which encode seven putative UDA- isolectins. The deduced amino acid sequences share 78.9–98.9% identity. In extracts of roots and rhizomes of stinging nettle ecotype Weerselo six out of these seven isolectins were detected by mass spectrometry. One of them is an acidic form, which has not been identified before. Our results demonstrate that UDA is encoded by a large gene family.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 29, 2004
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