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J Biol Chem. 2000 Nov 10;275(45):35122-8.

Characterization of cucurbita maxima phloem serpin-1 (CmPS-1). A developmentally regulated elastase inhibitor.

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  • 1Department of Entomolgy, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


We report on the molecular, biochemical, and functional characterization of Cucurbita maxima phloem serpin-1 (CmPS-1), a novel 42-kDa serine proteinase inhibitor that is developmentally regulated and has anti-elastase properties. CmPS-1 was purified to near homogeneity from C. maxima (pumpkin) phloem exudate and, based on microsequence analysis, the cDNA encoding CmPS-1 was cloned. The association rate constant (k(a)) of phloem-purified and recombinant His(6)-tagged CmPS-1 for elastase was 3.5 +/- 1.6 x 10(5) and 2.7 +/- 0.4 x 10(5) m(-)(1) s(-)(1), respectively. The fraction of complex-forming CmPS-1, X(inh), was estimated at 79%. CmPS-1 displayed no detectable inhibitory properties against chymotrypsin, trypsin, or thrombin. The elastase cleavage sites within the reactive center loop of CmPS-1 were determined to be Val(347)-Gly(348) and Val(350)-Ser(351) with a 3:2 molar ratio. In vivo feeding assays conducted with the piercing-sucking aphid, Myzus persicae, established a close correlation between the developmentally regulated increase in CmPS-1 within the phloem sap and the reduced ability of these insects to survive and reproduce on C. maxima. However, in vitro feeding experiments, using purified phloem CmPS-1, failed to demonstrate a direct effect on aphid survival. Likely roles of this novel phloem serpin in defense against insects/pathogens are discussed.

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