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Legumin of Vicia faba major: accumulation in developing cotyledons, purification, mRNA characterization and chromosomal location of coding genes

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Experiments were carried out on Vicia faba major involving (1) determination of the pattern of legumin accumulation during seed development, (2) protein purification from mature cotyledons, (3) the characterization of legumin mRNA, and (4) the chromosomal localization of the genes coding for legumins. In developing cotyledons the synthesis of legumin begins 28 days after petal desiccation (DAPD), and 4 days after initiation of vicilin synthesis. The two subunits (αA and βA) of legumin A appear 2 days earlier than those (αB and βB) of legumin B. While the accumulation of vicilin peaks on the 30th DAPD, that of legumin continues during further seed development, and the synthesis of legumin mRNA peaks on the 37th DAPD. Northern blot hybridizations using two DNA plasmids containing cDNA inserts with sequence homology to the A- and B-type legumin genes, respectively, indicated that legumin mRNAs extracted from cotyledons 36 DAPD band below the 18S RNA band. In addition, a faint band below that of the 25S RNA band can be observed in legumin mRNAs extracted from cotyledons at an earlier developmental stage (30 DAPD). By means of polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in the presence or absence of SDS and 2-mercaptoethanol, two fractions could be eluted after zonal isoelectric precipitation of the globulins from mature seeds: one fraction contains mainly vicilin, the other, legumin. In situ hybridization showed that legumin genes are arranged in two clusters: the genes coding for legumin A are located in the longer arm of the one between the two shortest subtelocentric chromosome pairs whose centromere is in a less terminal position; those coding for legumin B are located in the non-satellited arm of the longer submetacentric pair.

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Communicated by H. F. Linskens

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De Pace, C., Delre, V., Scarascia Mugnozza, G.T. et al. Legumin of Vicia faba major: accumulation in developing cotyledons, purification, mRNA characterization and chromosomal location of coding genes. Theoret. Appl. Genetics 83, 17–23 (1991).

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Key words

  • Chromosomal location of genes
  • Legumin
  • mRNA characterization
  • Seed storage proteins
  • Vicia faba
  • Broad bean