Mutational analysis of the embryo-specific urease locus of soybean

Mol Gen Genet. 1987 Oct;209(3):439-44. doi: 10.1007/BF00331147.


By a non-destructive urease screen of M2 soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr. cv. Williams) seeds, four true-breeding mutants (n4, n6, n7 and n8) were recovered which lack most (n6, n8) or all (n4, n7) embryo-specific urease activity. This trait was due to a single, recessive lesion at the Sun (seed urease-null) locus identified earlier in an exotic germplasm (PI 229324, Itachi). All sun mutants produced normal ubiquitous urease, the low abundance isozyme found in all soybean tissues examined. Tight mutants n4 and n7 accumulated no detectable embryo-specific urease protein or mRNA; n6 and n8 accumulated normal or near normal levels of urease mRNA but had seed urease protein levels approximately 5% and .05%, respectively, of the progenitor. Mutant n8 appeared to produce a low level of fully active urease (approximately 0.7% activity level, approximately 0.5% protein level) while n6 produced a higher level of an altered, nearly inactive urease (.0.09% activity level, approximately 5% protein level). Urease alterations in n6 were manifested by its increased temperature sensitivity and variation in aggregation state and pH preference. Thus, mutations in the Sun locus affected both the level and the nature of the embryo-specific urease gene products indicating that Sun encodes the embryo-specific urease. We reported earlier that the Eul locus, which controls the aggregation state of the embryo-specific urease, is on mep unit from Sun and that the Eul allele is cis to sun is not expressed (Kloth et al. 1987). That the level of urease gene product, its aggregation state and other enzyme properties can be affected by induced sun mutations, suggests that the Eul and sun alleles are at the same locus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Genes, Plant / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Mutation / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Seeds / enzymology
  • Seeds / genetics
  • Soybeans / enzymology
  • Soybeans / genetics*
  • Urease / genetics*


  • Isoenzymes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Urease