Germins and germin-like proteins (GLPs) constitute a ubiquitous family of plant proteins that seem to be involved in many developmental and stress-related processes. Wheat germin has been extensively studied at the biochemical level: it is found in the apoplast and the cytoplasm of germinating embryo cells and it has oxalate oxidase activity (EC 220.127.116.11). Germin synthesis can also be induced in adult wheat leaves by auxins and by a fungal pathogen but it remains to be determined whether the same gene is involved in developmental, hormonal and stress response. In this work, we have studied the expression of one of the wheat germin genes, named gf-2.8, in wheat as well as in transgenic tobacco plants transformed with either this intact gene or constructs with GUS driven by its promoter. This has allowed us to demonstrate that expression of this single gene is both developmentally and pathogen- regulated. In addition, we show that expression of the wheat gf-2.8 germin gene is also stimulated by some abiotic stresses, especially the heavy metal ions Cd2+, Cu2+ and Co2+. Several chemicals involved in stress signal transduction pathways were also tested: only polyamines were shown to stimulate expression of this gene. Because regulation of the wheat gf-2.8 germin gene is complex and because its product results in developmental and stress-related release of hydrogen peroxide in the apoplast, it is likely that it plays an important role in several aspects of plant growth and defence mechanisms.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 29, 2004
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