We describe the isolation and characterization of maize cDNAs that are transcribed from a small gene family and encode a novel group of receptor-like kinases (RLKs). The distinctive extracellular domain of these novel RLKs includes a unique number and arrangement of leucine-rich repeats (LRRs), a proline-rich region (PRR), a putative protein degradation target sequence (PEST), and a serine-rich region (SRR). The intracellular domain contains a putative serine/threonine protein kinase. To distinguish them from other reported RLKs, these novel RLKs were termed leucine-rich repeat transmembrane protein kinases (LTKs). Based on analysis of available deduced protein sequences, LTK1 and LTK2 were predicted to be 92.1% identical, while LTK2 and LTK3 were predicted to be 97.5% identical. Though the three LTK proteins showed high homology, the region that most distinguished LTK1 from LTK2 and LTK3 was found in the extracellular domain, in the SRR. To differentiate between expression of the individual ltk genes, we used the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in combination with restriction enzyme analysis. While ltk1 transcripts were constantly present in all tissues tested, ltk2 and ltk3 transcripts were only detected in the endosperm. Furthermore, transcript levels for both ltk1 and ltk2 showed modulation during endosperm development, peaking at 20 days after pollination. These results suggest that members of the ltk gene family mediate signals associated with seed development and maturation.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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