A single gene encodes the TATA binding protein (TBP) in yeasts and animals. Although two TBP-encoding genes (Tbp) previously were isolated from both Arabidopsis and maize, the expression and in vivo function of the encoded plant TBPs were not investigated. Here, we report that the two highly conserved maize Tbp genes are unlinked and reside within larger, ancestrally duplicated segments in the genome. We find quantitative differences in Tbp1 versus Tbp2 transcript accumulation in some maize tissues. These nonidentical expression patterns may indicate differences in the tissue-specific regulation of these genes, which might allow the two encoded maize TBP isoforms to perform nonoverlapping functions in the plant. In addition, we show that the maize TBP products, unlike animal TBPs, are functionally interchangeable with yeast TBP for conferring yeast cell viability. This is a conclusive demonstration of in vivo activity for a nonyeast TBP protein, and these complementation results point to particular amino acids in TBP that are likely to influence species-specific protein interactions.
J. Vogel, B. Roth, M. Cigan
The Plant cell