Expression pattern of the AHP gene family from Arabidopsis thaliana and organ specific alternative splicing in the AHP5 gene
Histidine-containing phosphotransmitters (AHPs) transfer a phosphoryl group from membrane receptors to effectors in the nucleus. Five AHP genes have been identified in Arabidopsis. Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was employed to quantify contents of individual transcripts in Arabidopsis leaves, roots, stems, flowers and siliques. High organ specificity of gene expression was found in AHP1, AHP2, AHP4 while expression of AHP3 and AHP5 appears more ubiquitous. We detected two AHP5 specific PCR products (AHP5 and AHP5L). Out of the five AHP5 introns, the second one was retained unspliced in the longer product (AHP5L) while AHP5 corresponded to a completely spliced AHP5 mRNA. The ratio between alternately and completely spliced AHP5 mRNAs was highest in flowers and lowest in siliques and stems. No evidence for alternative splicing in the remaining AHP transcripts was found. Two open reading frames were identified in AHP5L. The conserved part of the phosphotransfer domain remains unaffected in the longer one as the translation initiation at an intron ATG would result in a polypeptide coded by exons 3 to 6 and a short extension encoded by the intron part of the alternative open reading frame. However, the isoelectric point would shift by about 3 units towards neutral.