ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase), a heterotetrameric enzyme composed of two small and two large subunits, catalyses the first committed step of starch synthesis in plant tissues. In an attempt to learn more about the organization and expression of the small-subunit gene of AGPase, we have studied the small-subunit transcripts as well as the structure of the gene encoding these transcripts in barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv. Bomi). Two different transcripts (bepsF1 and blps14) were identified: bepsF1 was abundantly expressed in the starchy endosperm but not in leaves, whereas blps14 was isolated from leaves but was also found to be present at a moderate level in the starchy endosperm. The sequences for the two transcripts are identical over approx. 90% of the length, with differences being confined solely to their 5' ends. In blps14, the unique 5' end is 259 nt long and encodes a putative plastid transit peptide sequence. For the 178-nt 5' end of bepsF1, on the other hand, no transit peptide sequence could be recognized. A lambda clone that hybridized to the AGPase transcripts was isolated from a barley genomic library and characterized. The restriction map has suggested a complex organization of the gene, with alternative exons encoding the different 5' ends of the two transcripts followed by nine exons coding for the common part of the transcripts. The sequence of a portion of the genomic clone, covering the alternative 5'-end exons as well as upstream regions, has verified that both transcripts are encoded by the gene. The results suggest that the small-subunit gene of barley AGPase transcribes two different mRNAs by a mechanism classified as alternative splicing.
1996. Vol. 313, 149-154 p.