Molecular characterization of the Arginine decarboxylase gene family in rice
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Arginine decarboxylase (ADC) is a key enzyme in plants that converts arginine into putrescine, an important mediator of abiotic stress tolerance. Adc genes have been isolated from a number of dicotyledonous plants but the oat and rice Adc genes are the only representatives of monocotyledonous species
described thus far. Rice has a small family of Adc genes, and OsAdc1 expression has been shown to fluctuate under drought and chilling stress. We identified and characterized a second rice Adc gene (OsAdc2) which encodes a 629-amino-acid protein with a predicted molecular mass of 67 kDa. An unusual feature of the OsAdc2 gene is the presence of an intron and a short upstream open reading frame in the 50-UTR. Sequence comparisons showed that OsAdc2 is more closely related to the oat Adc gene than to OsAdc1 or to its dicot homologs, and mRNA analysis showed that the two rice genes are also differently regulated. Whereas OsAdc1 is expressed in leaf, root and stem, OsAdc2 expression is restricted to stem tissue. Protein expression was investigated with specific antibodies against ADC1 and ADC2, corroborating the mRNA data. We discuss the expression profiles of OsAdc1 and OsAdc2 and potential functions for the two corresponding proteins.