Journal Article

Characterization of Two Soybean (<i>Glycine max</i> L.) LEA IV Proteins by Circular Dichroism and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometry

Ming-der Shih, Tzung-yang Hsieh, Tsai-piao Lin, Yue-ie C. Hsing and Folkert A. Hoekstra

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 51, issue 3, pages 395-407
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online January 2010 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Late embryogenesis-abundant (LEA) proteins, accumulating to a high level during the late stages of seed development, may play a role as osmoprotectants. However, the functions and mechanisms of LEA proteins remained to be elucidated. Five major groups of LEA proteins have been described. In the present study, we report on the characterization of two members of soybean LEA IV proteins, basic GmPM1 and acidic GmPM28, by circular dichroism and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The spectra of both proteins revealed limited defined secondary structures in the fully hydrated state. Thus, the soybean LEA IV proteins are members of ‘natively unfolded proteins’. GmPM1 or GmPM28 proteins showed a conformational change under hydrophobic or dry conditions. After fast or slow drying, the two proteins showed slightly increased proportions of defined secondary structures (α-helix and β-sheet), from 30 to 49% and from 34 to 42% for GmPM1 and GmPm28, respectively. In the dehydrated state, GmPM1 and GmPM28 interact with non-reducing sugars to improve the transition temperature of cellular glass, with poly-l-lysine to prevent dehydration-induced aggregation and with phospholipids to maintain the liquid crystal phase over a wide temperature range. Our work suggests that soybean LEA IV proteins are functional in the dry state. They are one of the important components in cellular glasses and may stabilize desiccation-sensitive proteins and plasma membranes during dehydration.

Keywords: Circular dichroism; Fourier transform infrared; LEA protein; Molecular chaperone; Natively unfolded proteins; Protein secondary structure

Journal Article.  6331 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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