Group I allergens are the major allergens of grass pollen, but their biological function is unknown. These proteins are shown here to be structurally related to expansins, which are able to induce extension (creep) of plant cell walls. Extracts of maize pollen possess potent expansin like activity, as measured in wall extension and wall stress-relaxation assays. This activity is selective for grass cell walls and is, at least partly, due to the action of maize group I allergens. We propose that group I allergens facilitate invasion of the pollen tube into the maternal tissues by loosening the cell wails of the grass stigma and style. Additionally, the presence of related mRNAs in vegetative tissues of rice, Arabidopsis, and soybean implies that allergen homologs may function to loosen walls in growing vegetative tissues as well.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jun 10 1997|
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