Messenger RNA targeting of rice seed storage proteins to specific ER subdomains

Nature. 2000 Oct 12;407(6805):765-7. doi: 10.1038/35037633.


Rice seeds, a rich reserve of starch and protein, are a major food source in many countries. Unlike the seeds of other plants, which typically accumulate one major type of storage protein, rice seeds use two major classes, prolamines and globulin-like glutelins. Both storage proteins are synthesized on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and translocated to the ER lumen, but are then sorted into separate intracellular compartments. Prolamines are retained in the ER lumen as protein bodies whereas glutelins are transported and stored in protein storage vacuoles. Mechanisms responsible for the retention of prolamines within the ER lumen and their assembly into intracisternal inclusion granules are unknown, but the involvement of RNA localization has been suggested. Here we show that the storage protein RNAs are localized to distinct ER membranes and that prolamine RNAs are targeted to the prolamine protein bodies by a mechanism based on RNA signal(s), a process that also requires a translation initiation codon. Our results indicate that the ER may be composed of subdomains that specialize in the synthesis of proteins directed to different compartments of the plant endomembrane system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Glutens / genetics*
  • Glutens / metabolism
  • Oryza / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Prolamins
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Protein Transport
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • RNA, Plant / metabolism*
  • Seeds
  • Simplexvirus / genetics


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Plant Proteins
  • Prolamins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Plant
  • Glutens