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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Laticifer-specific gene expression in Hevea brasiliensis (rubber tree).

Natural rubber, cis-1,4-polyisoprene, is obtained from a colloidal fluid called latex, which represents the cytoplasmic content of the laticifers of the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). We have developed a method of extracting translatable mRNA from freshly tapped latex. Analysis of in vitro translation products of latex mRNA showed that the encoded polypeptides are very different from those of leaf mRNA and these differences are visible in the protein profiles of latex and leaf as well. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that laticifer RNA is 20- to 100-fold enriched in transcripts encoding enzymes involved in rubber biosynthesis. Plant defense genes encoding chitinases, pathogenesis-related protein, phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, chalcone synthase, chalcone isomerase, cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase, and 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase show a 10- to 50-fold higher expression in laticifers than in leaves, indicating the probable response of rubber trees to tapping and ethylene treatment. Photosynthetic genes encoding ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase small subunit and chlorophyll a/b-binding protein are not expressed at a detectable level in laticifers. In contrast, genes encoding two hydrolytic enzymes, cellulase and polygalacturonase, are more highly expressed in laticifers than in leaves. Transcripts for the cytoplasmic form of glutamine synthase are preferentially expressed in laticifers, whereas those for the chloroplastic form of the same enzyme are present mainly in leaves. Control experiments demonstrated that beta-ATPase, actin, and ubiquitin are equally expressed in laticifers and leaves. Therefore, the differences in specific transcript abundance between laticifers and leaves are due to differential expression of the genes for these transcripts in the laticifers.[1]


  1. Laticifer-specific gene expression in Hevea brasiliensis (rubber tree). Kush, A., Goyvaerts, E., Chye, M.L., Chua, N.H. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1990) [Pubmed]
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