Differential expression of a gene for a methionine-rich storage protein in maize

Julie Anderson Kirihara, John P. Hunsperger, Walter C. Mahoney, Joachim W. Messing

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70 Scopus citations


A methionine-rich 10 kDa zein storage protein from maize was isolated and the sequence of the N-terminal 30 amino acids was determined. Based on the amino acid sequence, two mixed oligonucleotides were synthesized and used to probe a maize endosperm cDNA library. A fulllength cDNA clone encoding the 10 kDa zein was isolated by this procedure. The nucleotide sequence of the cDNA clone predicts a polypeptide of 129 amino acids, preceded by a signal peptide of 21 amino acids. The predicted polypeptide is unique in its extremely high content of methionine (22.5%). The maize inbred line BSSS-53, which has increased seed methionine due to overproduction of this protein, was compared to W23, a standard inbred line. Northern blot analysis showed that the relative RNA levels for the 10 kDa zein were enhanced in developing seeds of BSSS-53, providing a molecular basis for the overproduction of the protein. Southern blot analysis indicated that there are one or two 10 kDa zein genes in the maize genome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-484
Number of pages8
JournalMGG Molecular & General Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1988


  • Gene expression
  • High methionine protein
  • Seed development
  • Zea mays
  • Zein


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