Total protein content and amounts of albumin, legumin and vicilin have been determined for pea seeds from lines near-isogenic except for genes at the rugosus loci, r and rb (RR/RbRb; rr/RbRb; RR/rbrb; rr/rbrb). Seeds with the wildtype, round-seeded phenotype (RR/RbRb) had less protein on a total seed dry-weight basis than any of the wrinkled-seeded lines and this protein had a lower proportion of albumin. The lines which had recessive alleles at both r and rb loci had the highest proportion of protein and the highest proportion of albumin. The roundseeded peas possessed nearly two-fold more legumin than the double recessive line, with proportions for the two single recessive lines falling in between these extremes. Vicilin levels were similarfor all four near-isogenic lines. SDS-PAGE analysis of the isolated albumin, legumin and vicilin fractions revealed no significant differences between the four lines. Differential scanning calorimetry of protein extracts showed that all the wrinkled-seeded near-isolines possessed legumin fractions with diminished thermal stability relative to that from the roundseeded, wild-type line.
Chemically-induced mutants were also analysed for protein content and composition. These mutants have previously been shown to display great variation in starch and lipid levels. Total protein varied from 20.3% to 37.9%; however, relative proportions of albumin, legumin and vicilin were similar in all mutant lines. SDS-PAGE analysis identified two mutant pea lines which possessed a legumin A-chain of 65 000 Mr as well as the typical 45 000 Mr form. Differential scanning calorimetry of protein extracts indicated that the legumin in all mutants had lower enthalpies of denaturation than the legumin in the round-seeded parent.
The mutant pea lines possess exceptional variation with respect to starch, lipid and protein which raises opportunities for their use in the food and animal feedstuff industries.