Lipid transfer proteins (LTPs) are widely distributed in the plant kingdom, but their functions remain elusive. The proteins AlLTP2-4 were isolated from three related Allium plants: garlic (A. sativum L.), Welsh onion (A. fistulosum L.), and Nanking shallot (A. ascalonicum L.). These novel proteins comprise a new class of LTPs associated with the Ace-AMP1 from onion (A. cepa L.). The AlLTP genes encode proteins harboring 132 common amino acids and also share a high level of sequence identity. Protein characteristics and phylogenetic analysis suggest that LTPs could be classified into five distinct groups. The AlLTPs were clustered into the most distantly related plant LTP subfamily and appeared to be restricted to the Allium species. In particular, the number of amino acids existing between the fourth and fifth Cys residue was suggested as a conserved motif facilitating the categorization of all the LTP-related proteins in the family. Unlike other LTPs, AlLTPs harboring both the putative C-terminal propeptide and N-terminal signal peptide were predicted to be localized to cytoplasmic vacuoles. When a chimeric GFP protein fused with both N-terminal and C-terminal AlLTP2 signal peptides was expressed in rice cells, the fluorescence signal was detected in the endomembrane compartments, thereby confirming that AlLTPs are an unprecedented intracellular type of LTP. Collectively, our present data demonstrate that AlLTPs are a novel type of LTP associated with the Allium species.
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Acknowledgments This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Korea, through the Crop Functional Genomics Center (grants to Y.D.C and J.-K.K).
- Allium species
- Intracellular localization
- Lipid transfer protein