Mobilization of Reserve Proteins and Activities of Cysteine Peptidases During Germinative and Post-Germinative Events of Cowpea Seeds

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Abstract:

Cysteine peptidases are the best characterized peptidases among those involved with storage protein mobilization during seed germination. In the present work we show two major groups of cysteine peptidase activities, one of higher (55 to 97 kDa) and other with lower (15 to 20 kDa) molecular masses which are temporally activated after 24 and 48 HAI, respectively, in germinating cowpeas. The former group is found both in protein bodies and in cytoplasmic fraction, while the latter is mostly present outside protein bodies. A third cysteine peptidase activity of ∼37 kDa was specifically active at quiescent cotyledons and at 12 and 60 hours after imbibition (HAI). Main peptidase activities of albumin fractions were synchronizedly detected with radicle emergence at 36 HAI. Major vicilin mobilization was more pronounced from 60 HAI onwards and steadily increased until 144 HAI, when low levels of the smallest vicilin subunit were present. Cysteine peptidases were susceptible to iodoacetamide, E-64, iodoacetic acid, pCMB and β-mercaptoethanol, except for the ∼37 kDa peptidase, which was not affected by any of the inhibitors. By a two-dimensional native/SDS-PAGE combination it was observed an apparent linear arrangement of protein breakdown products as well as of peptidase activity spots. The finding may indicate a complex set of sequential proteolytic events where peptidases induce or activate new peptidases, which may act upon different aggregates or zymogens, and these hydrolysis products appear in a line of constant decreasing Rf x Mr ratio.
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  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.

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