A defective seed coat pattern (Net) is correlated with the post-transcriptional abundance of soluble proline-rich cell wall proteins

J D Percy, R Philip, L O Vodkin
Plant Molecular Biology 1999, 40 (4): 603-13
The pigmented seed coats of several soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) plant introductions and isolines have unusual defects that result in cracking of the mature seed coat exposing the endosperm and cotyledons. It has previously been shown that the T (tawny) locus that controls the color of trichomes on stems and leaves also has an effect on both the structure and pigmentation of the seed coat. Distribution of pigmentation on the seed coat is controlled by alleles of the I (inhibitor) locus. It was also found that total seed coat proteins were difficult to extract from pigmented seed coats with i T genotypes because they have procyanidins that exhibit tannin properties. We report that the inclusion of poly-L-proline in the extraction buffer out-competes proteins for binding to procyanidins. Once this problem was solved, we examined expression of the proline-rich cell wall proteins PRP1 and PRP2 in pigmented genotypes with the dominant T allele. We found that both homozygous i T and i t genotypes have reduced soluble PRP1 levels. The epistatic interaction of the double recessive genotype at both loci is necessary to produce the pigmented, defective seed coat phenotype characteristic of seed coats with the double recessive i and t alleles. This implies a novel effect of an enzyme in the flavonoid pathway on seed coat structure in addition to its effect on flavonoids, anthocyanidins, and proanthocyanidins. No soluble PRP1 polypeptides were detectable in pigmented seed coats (i T genotypes) of isolines that also display a net-like pattern of seed coat cracking, known as the Net defect. PRP2 was also absent in one of the these lines. However, both PRP1 and PRP2 cytoplasmic mRNAs were found in the Net-defective seed coats. Together with in vitro translation studies, these results suggest that the absence of soluble PRP polypeptides in the defective Net lines is post-translational and could be due to a more rapid or premature insolubilization of PRP polypeptides within the cell wall matrix.

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