Two different cDNAs ZmKCS-1 and ZmKCS-2 from maize, with high homology to the Cut 1 gene from A. thaliana (Millar et al., Plant Cell 11:825-838, 1999) and various other plant ß-KCSs, were isolated from a cDNA-library of germinating kernels and a cDNA-library of young seedlings. The two cDNAs show a high sequence similarity in the coding region but are differently expressed in the endosperm of germinating kernels, in young seedlings and in tassels. There is no expression in adult leaves and developing kernels.
Overexpression of ZmKCS-1 in yeast did not lead to a change in long chain fatty acid. This observation and the particularly high homology to the wax biosynthesis related ß-KCS Cut 1 from A. thaliana as well as the high expression of both genes during germination indicates an involvement of ZmKCS-1 and ZmKCS—2 in the biosynthesis of seedling wax precursors.
Antisense experiments in maize were
carried out within a partial clone of ZmKCS-1. Young transgenic
seedlings showed small changes in leaf wax composition. The precise gene
function, however, remains unclear and has to be further examined.
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