Molecular characterization and spatial expression of the sunflower ABP1 gene

Clément Thomas*, Denise Meyer, Michel Wolff, Christophe Himber, Malek Alioua, André Steinmetz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


We have used RT-PCR and low-stringency cDNA library screening to isolate the coding sequence of the sunflower auxin-binding protein (ABP1). All the clones analysed contained the same nucleotide sequence, suggesting that ABP1 is encoded by a single-copy gene in sunflower. The deduced amino acid sequence shows a high degree of similarity with ABP1 proteins from other plant species. Most remarkably, the sunflower protein lacks two cysteine residues present in all other plant ABPs known to date and shown to be involved in a disulfide bridge in the maize protein. Genomic Southern hybridization data support the existence of a single copy of the ABP1 gene in the sunflower genome. Northern hybridization corroborated earlier observations indicating that the steady-state level of ABP1 transcript is higher in actively dividing and growing organs than in the rest of the plant: it is more abundant in the shoot apex, floral buds and immature embryos than in mature leaves, stem, roots and ray flowers. To characterize the tissular ABP1 transcript distribution in sunflower, various organ sections were analysed upon in situ hybridization. Localized accumulation of the ABP1 transcript suggests that its spatial expression is highly regulated at the tissue level. In addition, the transcript preferentially accumulates in tissues having a high rate of cellular division, such as shoot and root apical meristems, leaf primordia and pro-vascular tissues. The ABP1 expression pattern was also studied at a temporal scale during lateral root formation. Real time PCR showed an elevation of the steady state level of the ABP1 transcript in root axes after 36 h of seed germination. In situ hybridization revealed that this global increase is the result of local accumulation of the ABP1 transcript in lateral root primordia, which are known to develop under auxin action. The possibility that a high ABP1 expression level correlates with a high cellular sensitivity to auxin is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1036
Number of pages12
JournalPlant Molecular Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Auxin
  • Auxin-binding protein
  • Lateral roots
  • Real-time PCR
  • Sunflower
  • in situ hybridization


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