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Plant Physiol. Jul 1997; 114(3): 759–769.
PMCID: PMC158362

Identification and characterization of a fruit-specific, thaumatin-like protein that accumulates at very high levels in conjunction with the onset of sugar accumulation and berry softening in grapes.


The protein composition of the grape (Vitis vinifera cv Muscat of Alexandria) berry was examined from flowering to ripeness by gel electrophoresis. A protein with an apparent molecular mass of 24 kD, which was one of the most abundant proteins in extracts of mature berries, was purified and identified by amino acid sequence to be a thaumatin-like protein. Combined cDNA sequence analysis and electrospray mass spectrometry revealed that this protein, VVTL1 (for V. vinifera thaumatin-like protein 1), is synthesized with a transient signal peptide as seen for apoplastic preproteins. Apart from the removal of the targeting signal and the formation of eight disulfide bonds, VVTL1 undergoes no other posttranslational modification. Southern, northern, and western analyses revealed that VVTL1 is found in the berry only and is encoded by a single gene that is expressed in conjunction with the onset of sugar accumulation and softening. The exact role of VVTL1 is unknown, but the timing of its accumulation correlates with the inability of the fungal pathogen powdery mildew (Uncinula necator) to initiate new infections of the berry. Western analysis revealed that the presence of thaumatin-like proteins in ripening fruit might be a widespread phenomenon.

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Selected References

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Articles from Plant Physiology are provided here courtesy of American Society of Plant Biologists


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