Insights into maize LEA proteins: From proteomics to functional approaches

Imen Amara, Antonia Odena, Eliandre Oliveira, Alicia Moreno, Khaled Masmoudi, Montserrat Pags, Adela Goday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


LEA (late embryogenesis abundant) proteins participate in plant stress tolerance responses, but the mechanisms by which protection occurs are not fully understood. In the present work the unfolded proteins from maize dry embryos were analyzed by mass spectrometry. Twenty embryo proteins were identified, and among them 13 corresponded to LEA-type proteins. We selected three major LEA proteins, Emb564, Rab17 and Mlg3, belonging to groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively, and we undertook a comparative study in order to highlight differences among them. The post-translational modifications of native proteins were analyzed and the anti-aggregation properties of recombinant Emb564, Rab17 and Mgl3 proteins were evaluated in vitro. In addition, the protective effects of the LEA proteins were assessed in living cells under stress in Escherichia coli cells and in Nicotiana bentamiana leaves agroinfiltrated with fluorescent LEA-green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusions. Protein visualization by confocal microscopy indicated that cells expressing Mg3-GFP showed reduced cell shrinkage effects during dehydration and that Rab17-GFP co-localized to leaf oil bodies after heat shock. Overall, the results highlight differences and suggest functional diversity among maize LEA groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-329
Number of pages18
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • ABA
  • Aggregation
  • LEA protein
  • Maize
  • Oil body
  • Proteomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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