Arabidopsis thaliana contains a large family of germin-like proteins: Characterization of cDNA and genomic sequences encoding 12 unique family members

Clay Carter, Richard A. Graham, Robert W. Thornburg

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61 Scopus citations


We have identified 39 Arabidopsis thaliana ESTs encoding germin-like proteins (GLPs) and have completely sequenced 25 of these cDNAs. Our analysis demonstrates that the Arabidopsis genome contains a gene family with at least 12 GLP genes. Comparisons with other known germins and germin-like proteins indicate that these Arabidopsis GLP subfamilies are unique from wheat germin. All other known GLPs fall into one of these subfamilies. The translated GLPs show approximately 35% amino acid identity with other GLPs outside of their subfamily and significantly higher levels of identity within their respective subfamily. The 3' ends of many of the GLP cDNAs are heterogeneous and several sites of polyadenylation are used. Ten of the GLPs have N-terminal signal sequences and most appear to be exported from the cell. Structurally, the GLPs are predicted to have a high content of β-pleated sheet. Seven conserved regions of β-sheet were found in each of the GLP proteins along with α-helices located at both N- and C-termini. These same structural elements are also conserved in wheat germin. With one exception, all GLP family members contain at least one N-glycosylation site. All of these sites are conserved in an unstructured loop between β-1 and β-2. Genes for two of these GLPs were identified in genomic sequences previously deposited in the GenBank. The GLP3b gene is physically linked to the polyubiquitin 4 gene. The 3' end of the GLP3b mRNA is only 0.5 kb from the ubq4 start of transcription. Analysis of the GLP3b promoter shows the presence of a single putative auxin-response sequence located at -124 to -111 upstream from the 5' end of the GLP3b mRNA. The GLP9 gene was identified in an Arabidopsis contig from Chromosome 4.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-943
Number of pages15
JournalPlant molecular biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was sponsored by funds from the Carver Trust, the Hatch Act, and State of Iowa funds. The authors would like to thank Dr François Bernier for sharing the results of his studies prior to their publication.


  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Germin
  • Germin-like proteins
  • Multigene family
  • Oxalate oxidase


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