The dynamics of protein body formation in developing wheat grain

Katie Moore, Paola Tosi, Richard Palmer-Jones, Malcolm J. Hawkesford, Chris R.M. Grovenor, Peter R. Shewry

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Wheat is a major source of protein in the diets of humans and livestock but we know little about the mechanisms that determine the patterns of protein synthesis in the developing endosperm. We have used a combination of enrichment with 15N glutamine and NanoSIMS imaging to establish that the substrate required for protein synthesis is transported radially from its point of entrance in the endosperm cavity across the starchy endosperm tissues, before becoming concentrated in the cells immediately below the aleurone layer. This transport occurs continuously during grain development but may be slower in the later stages. Although older starchy endosperm cells tend to contain larger protein deposits formed by the fusion of small protein bodies, small highly enriched protein bodies may also be present in the same cells. This shows a continuous process of protein body initiation, in both older and younger starchy endosperm cells and in all regions of the tissue. Immunolabeling with specific antibodies shows that the patterns of enrichment are not related to the contents of gluten proteins in the protein bodies. In addition to providing new information on the dynamics of protein deposition, the study demonstrates the wider utility of NanoSIMS and isotope labelling for studying complex developmental processes in plant tissues.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1876-1882
    Number of pages7
    JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
    Issue number9
    Early online date22 Feb 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2016


    • Endosperm development
    • NanoSIMS
    • Protein deposition
    • Wheat


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