Characterization of profilin polymorphism in pollen with a focus on multifunctionality

PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e30878. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030878. Epub 2012 Feb 14.


Profilin, a multigene family involved in actin dynamics, is a multiple partners-interacting protein, as regard of the presence of at least of three binding domains encompassing actin, phosphoinositide lipids, and poly-L-proline interacting patches. In addition, pollen profilins are important allergens in several species like Olea europaea L. (Ole e 2), Betula pendula (Bet v 2), Phleum pratense (Phl p 12), Zea mays (Zea m 12) and Corylus avellana (Cor a 2). In spite of the biological and clinical importance of these molecules, variability in pollen profilin sequences has been poorly pointed out up until now. In this work, a relatively high number of pollen profilin sequences have been cloned, with the aim of carrying out an extensive characterization of their polymorphism among 24 olive cultivars and the above mentioned plant species. Our results indicate a high level of variability in the sequences analyzed. Quantitative intra-specific/varietal polymorphism was higher in comparison to inter-specific/cultivars comparisons. Multi-optional posttranslational modifications, e.g. phosphorylation sites, physicochemical properties, and partners-interacting functional residues have been shown to be affected by profilin polymorphism. As a result of this variability, profilins yielded a clear taxonomic separation between the five plant species. Profilin family multifunctionality might be inferred by natural variation through profilin isovariants generated among olive germplasm, as a result of polymorphism. The high variability might result in both differential profilin properties and differences in the regulation of the interaction with natural partners, affecting the mechanisms underlying the transmission of signals throughout signaling pathways in response to different stress environments. Moreover, elucidating the effect of profilin polymorphism in adaptive responses like actin dynamics, and cellular behavior, represents an exciting research goal for the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics
  • Allergens / chemistry
  • Olea / immunology
  • Pollen / chemistry*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Profilins / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Allergens
  • Profilins