Napin is a 2S storage protein found in the seeds of oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) and related species. Using protein structural prediction programs we have identified a region in the napin protein sequence which forms a `hydrophilic loop' composed of amino acid residues located at the protein surface. Targeting this region, we have constructed two napin chimeric genes containing the coding sequence for the peptide hormone leucine-enkephalin as a topological marker. One version has a single enkephalin sequence of 11 amino acids including linkers and the second contains a tandem repeat of this peptide comprising 22 amino acids, inserted into the napin large subunit. The inserted peptide sequences alter the balance of hydrophilic to hydrophobic amino acids and introduce flexibility into this region of the polypeptide chain. The chimeric genes have been expressed in tobacco plants under the control of the seed-specific napA gene promoter. Analyses indicate that the engineered napin proteins are expressed, transported, post-translationally modified and deposited inside the protein bodies of the transgenic seeds demonstrating that the altered napin proteins behave in a similar fashion to the authentic napin protein. Detailed immunolocalisation studies indicate that the insertion of the peptide sequences has a significant effect on the distribution of the napin proteins within the tobacco seed protein bodies.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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