Small GTP-binding proteins are divided into three major group: Ras, Rho and Ypt/Rab. They have the conserved regions designed G1 to G5 that are critical in GDP/GTP exchange, GTP-induced conformational change and GTP hydrolysis. We isolated and characterized genomic DNA or cDNAfragments encoding G1 to G3 domains of small GTP-binding protein Rab and Rho from several plant species using two different PCR-based cloning strategies. Seven rab DNA fragments were isolated from 4 different plants, mung-bean, tobacco, rice and pepper using two degenerate primers corresponding to the GTP-binding domain G1 and G3 in small GTP-binding proteins. The amino acid sequences among these rab DNA fragments and other known small GTP-binding proteins shows that they belong to the Ypt/Rab family. Six rho DNA fragments were isolated from 5 different plants, mung-bean, rice, Arabidopsis, Allium and Gonyaulax using the nested PCR method that involves four degenerate primers corresponding to the GTP-binding domain G1, G3 and G4. The rho DNA fragments cloned show more than 90% homology to each other. Sequence comparison between plant and other known Rho family genes suggests that they are closely related (67 to 82% amino acid identity). Sequence analysis and southern blot analysis of rab and rho in mung-bean suggest than thses genes are encoded by multigene family in mung-bean.
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