Zeins are the major seed storage proteins in maize (Zea mays). They are synthesized on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and deposited into protein bodies. Failure of signal peptide cleavage from zeins can cause an opaque endosperm in the mature kernel; however, the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for this phenotype are not fully understood. In this study, we report the cloning and characterization of a novel, semidominant opaque mutant, floury4 (fl4). fl4 is caused by a mutated z1A 19-kD α-zein with defective signal peptide cleavage. Zein protein bodies in fl4 endosperm are misshapen and aggregated. Immunolabeling analysis indicated that fl4 participates in the assembly of zeins into protein bodies, disrupting their proper spatial distribution. ER stress is stimulated in fl4 endosperm, as illustrated by dilated rough ER and markedly up-regulated binding protein content. Further analysis confirmed that several ER stress pathways are induced in fl4 endosperm, including ER-associated degradation, the unfolded protein response, and translational suppression by the phosphorylation of eukaryotic translational initiation factor2 α-subunit. Programmed cell death is also elevated, corroborating the intensity of ER stress in fl4. These results provide new insights into cellular responses caused by storage proteins with defective signal peptides.
- 2.1 Biological And Endogenous Factors
- Basic Science
- 0601 Biochemistry And Cell Biology
- Generic Health Relevance