Cloning and expression of two sterol C-24 methyltransferase genes from upland cotton (Gossypium hirsuturm L.)

Ming Luo, Kunling Tan, Zhongyi Xiao, Mingyu Hu, Peng Liao, Kuijun Chen
Journal of Genetics and Genomics 2008, 35 (6): 357-63
Brassinosteroids (BRs) are an important class of plant steroidal hormones that are essential in a wide variety of physiological processes. Two kinds of intermediates, sitosterol and campesterol, play a crucial role in cell elongation, cellulose biosynthesis, and accumulation. To illuminate the effects of sitosterol and campesterol on the development of cotton (Gossypium hirsuturm L.) fibers through screening cotton fiber EST database and contigging the candidate ESTs, two key genes GhSMT2-1 and GhSMT2-2 controlling the sitosterol biosynthesis were cloned from developing fibers of upland cotton cv. Xuzhou 142. The full length of GhSMT2-1 was 1,151 bp, including an 8 bp 5'-untranslated region (UTR), a 1,086 bp open reading frame (ORF), and a 57 bp 3'-UTR. GhSMT2-1 gene encoded a polypeptide of 361 amino acid residues with a predicted molecular mass of 40 kDa. The full length of GhSMT2-2 was 1,166 bp, including an 18 bp 5'-UTR, a 1,086 bp ORF, and a 62 bp 3'-UTR. GhSMT2-2 gene encoded a polypeptide of 361 amino acid residues with a predicted molecular mass of 40 kDa. The two deduced amino acid sequences had high homology with the SMT2 from Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana tabacum. Furthermore, the typical conserved structures characterized by the sterol C-24 methyltransferase, such as region I (LDVGCGVGGPMRAI), region II (IEATCHAP), and region III (YEWGWGQSFHF), were present in both deduced proteins. Southern blotting analysis indicated that GhSMT2-1 or GhSMT2-2 was a single copy in upland cotton genome. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR analysis revealed that the highest expression levels of both genes were detected in 10 DPA (day post anthesis) fibers, while the lowest levels were observed in cotyledon and leaves. The expression level of GhSMT2-1 was 10 times higher than that of GhSMT2-2 in all the organs and tissues detected. These results indicate that the homologue of sterol C-24 methyltransferase gene was cloned from upland cotton and both GhSMT2 genes play a crucial role in fiber elongation. The role of GhSMT2-1 may be more important than that of GhSMT2-2.

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