Differential expression of α-amylase genes in germinating rice and barley seeds

Erik E. Karrer, James C. Litts, Raymond L. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Steady-state levels of mRNA from individual α-amylase genes were measured in the embryo and aleurone tissues of rice (Oryza sativa) and two varieties of barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv. Himalaya and cv. Klages) during germination. Each member of the α-amylase multigene families of rice and barley was differentially expressed in each tissue. In rice, α-amylase genes displayed tissue-specific expression in which genes RAmy3B, RAmy3C, and RAmy3E were preferentially expressed in the aleurone layer, genes RAmy1A, RAmy1B and RAmy3D were expressed in both the embryo and aleurone, and genes RAmy3A and RAmy2A were not expressed in either tissue. Whenver two or more genes were expressed in any tissue, the rate of mRNA accumulation from each gene was unique. In contrast to rice, barley α-amylase gene expression was not tissue-specific. Messenger RNAs encoding low- and high-pI α-amylase isozymes were detectable in both the embryo and aleurone and accumulated at different rates in each tissue. In particular, peak levels of mRNA encoding high-pI α-amylases always preceded those encoding low-pI α-amylases. Two distinct differences in α-amylase gene expression were observed between the two barley varieties. levels of high-pI α-amylase mRNA peaked two days earlier in Klages embryos than in Himalaya embryos. Throughout six days of germination, Klages produced three times as much high-pI α-amylase mRNA and nearly four times as much low-pI α-amylase mRNA than the slower-germinating Himalaya variety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)797-805
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Molecular Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1991


  • alevrone
  • embryo
  • intact germinating seeds
  • multigene family
  • northern blotting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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