The major seed storage proteins (SSPs) in rice seeds have been classified into three types, glutelins, prolamins, and globulin, and the proportion of each SSP varies. It has been shown in rice mutants that when either glutelins or prolamins are defective, the expression of another type of SSP is promoted to counterbalance the deficit. However, we observed reduced abundances of glutelins and prolamins in dry seeds of a globulin-deficient rice mutant (Glb-RNAi), which was generated with RNA interference (RNAi)-induced suppression of globulin expression. The expression of the prolamin and glutelin subfamily genes was reduced in the immature seeds of Glb-RNAi lines compared with those in wild type. A proteomic analysis of Glb-RNAi seeds showed that the reductions in glutelin and prolamin were conserved at the protein level. The decreased pattern in glutelin was also significant in the presence of a reductant, suggesting that the polymerization of the glutelin proteins via intramolecular disulfide bonds could be interrupted in Glb-RNAi seeds. We also observed aberrant and loosely packed structures in the storage organelles of Glb-RNAi seeds, which may be attributable to the reductions in SSPs. In this study, we evaluated the role of rice globulin in seed development, showing that a deficiency in globulin could comprehensively reduce the expression of other SSPs.
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