We have identified a limited number of proteins secreted into the nectar of tobacco plants. Nectarin I is the most highly expressed nectar protein and has a monomer molecular mass of 29 kDa. The other major nectar proteins are expressed at lower levels and have monomer molecular masses of 41, 54, and 65 kDa respectively. Nectarin I was purified and antiserum was raised against the protein. Under nondenaturing conditions, Nectarin I has an apparent molecular mass of > 120 kDa. The expression of Nectarin I was restricted to nectary tissues and to a much lower level in the ovary. No Nectarin I was found in petals, stems, leaves, or roots or other floral tissues. The expression of Nectarin I was also developmentally regulated. It is expressed in nectary tissues only while nectar is being actively secreted. Subsequently, the N-terminus of purified Nectarin I was sequenced. Sequence identity showed Nectarin I is related to wheat germin. Although hydrogen peroxide is readily detectable in tobacco floral nectar, we were unable to demonstrate any oxalate oxidase activity for Nectarin I. A partial cDNA encoding the mature Nectarin I N-terminus was isolated and used to probe a Nicotiana plumbaginifolia genomic library. The Nectarin I gene was isolated and the translated sequence was consistent with both N-terminal and internal cyanogen bromide-derived amino acid sequence. The gene contains a single 386 nt intron and encodes a mature protein of 197 amino acids.
Bibliographical noteFunding 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 Ms Michelle Ward for technical assistance.
- Germin-like proteins
- Oxalate oxidase