Biochemistry, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Gene Structure and Expression, vol. 1522, no. 1 (November 11, 2001), pp. 1-8. Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. Used by permission.


With the exception of barley and rice, little is known about the existence of hemoglobins (Hbs) in cereals. This work reports the cloning and analysis of hb genes from maize (Zea mays ssp. mays) and teosinte (Zea mays ssp. parviglumis). Coding sequences of maize and teosinte hb genes (hbm and hbt, respectively) are highly similar to each other and are interrupted by three introns located at identical positions as other plant hb genes. Sequences of predicted Hbm and Hbt proteins are identical. The hydropathic profile of Hbm and Hbt is highly similar to that of rice Hb1, suggesting that Hbm, Hbt and Hb1 have the same tertiary structure and biochemical properties. Expression analysis showed that low levels of Hb transcripts, but considerable levels of Hb proteins exist in maize embryonic organs. No Hb transcripts and proteins were detected in teosinte embryonic organs. Low levels of Hb proteins, but no Hb transcripts, were detected in maize and teosinte vegetative organs. These observations suggest that the regulation of hb genes is different in maize and teosinte embryonic organs, and that the expression of hb genes is down- or up-regulated in maize and teosinte, respectively, from germination to vegetative growing.