Identification and characterization of a matrix metalloproteinase (Pta1-MMP) expressed during Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) seed development, germination completion, and early seedling establishment
Planta 2009; 230(2): 339- 354
Ratnaparkhe SM, Egertsdotter E-M U, Flinn BS

Abstract
Extracellular matrix (ECM) modifications occur during plant growth, development, and in response to environmental stimuli. Key modulators of ECM modification in vertebrates, the extracellular matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), have also been described in a few plants. Here, we report the identification of Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) Pta1-MMP and its characterization during seed development and germination. Pta1-MMP protein has the structural characteristics of other plant MMPs, the recombinant protein exhibits Zn2+-dependent protease activity, and is inhibited by EDTA and the active site-binding hydroxamate inhibitor GM6001. The Pta1-MMP gene is expressed in both embryo and megagametophyte, with transcript levels increasing in both during the period from proembryo to early cotyledonary stage, then declining during late embryogenesis and maturation drying. Protein extracts exhibited similar developmental-stage MMP-like activity. Seed germination was stimulated by GA3 and inhibited by ABA, and the timing of germination completion was mirrored by the presence of MMP-like protease activity in both water- and GA3-imbibed embryos. Pta1-MMP gene transcript levels increased in association with radicle protrusion for both GA3- and water-treated embryos, in agreement with MMP-like activity. In contrast, by 11 days after imbibition, Pta1-MMP gene transcripts in ABA-treated embryos were at levels similar to the other treatments, although MMP-like activity was not observed. The application of GM6001 during Loblolly pine seed germination inhibited radicle protrusion. Our results suggest that MMP activity may be involved in ECM modification, facilitating the cell division and expansion required during seed development, germination completion, and subsequent seedling establishment.

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