Abstract

Fifteen cDNA clones, putatively identified as encoding aspartate aminotransferase (AST, EC 2.6.1.1.), were isolated and partially sequenced. Together with six previously isolated clones putatively identified to encode ASTs (Sasaki, et al. 1994, Plant Journal 6, 615–624), their sequences were characterized and classified into 4 cDNA species. Two of the isolated clones, C60213 and C2079, were full-length cDNAs, and their complete nucleotide sequences were determined. C60213 was 1612 bp long and its deduced amino acid sequence showed 88% homology with that of Panicum miliaceum L. mitochondrial AST. TheC60213-encoded protein had an N-terminal amino acid sequence that was characteristic of a mitochondrial transit peptide. On the other hand, C2079 was 1546 bp long and had 91% amino acid sequence homology with P. miliaceum L. cytosolic AST but lacked in the transit peptide sequence. The homologies of nucleotide sequences and deduced amino acid sequences of C2079 and C60213 were 54% and 52%, respectively. C2079 and C60213 were mapped on chromosomes 1 and 6, respectively, by restriction fragment length polymorphism linkage analysis. Northern blot analysis using C2079 as a probe revealed much higher transcript levels in callus and root than in green and etiolated shoots, suggesting tissue-specific variations of AST gene expression.