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Plant Physiol. 2006 Nov;142(3):1329-39. Epub 2006 Sep 29.

A novel function for the cathepsin D inhibitor in tomato.

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  • 1Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 46022 Valencia, Spain.

Abstract

Proteinaceous aspartic proteinase inhibitors are rare in nature and are described in only a few plant species. One of them corresponds to a family of cathepsin D inhibitors (CDIs) described in potato (Solanum tuberosum), involving up to 15 isoforms with a high sequence similarity. In this work, we describe a tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) wound-inducible protein called jasmonic-induced protein 21 (JIP21). Sequence analysis of its cDNA predicted a putative function as a CDI. The JIP21 gene, whose protein has been demonstrated to be glycosylated, is constitutively expressed in flowers, stem, and fruit, and is inducible to high levels by wounding and methyl jasmonate in leaves of tomato plants. The genomic sequence of JIP21 shows that the gene is intronless and reveals the presence of both a methyl jasmonate box (TGACT) and a G-box (CACGT) in the promoter. In contrast to the presumed role of JIP21 based on sequence analysis, a detailed biochemical characterization of the purified protein uncovers a different function as a strong chymotrypsin inhibitor, which questions the previously predicted inhibitory activity against aspartic proteinases. Moreover, Egyptian cotton worm (Spodoptera littoralis) larvae fed on transgenic tomato plants overexpressing JIP21 present an increase in mortality and a delay in growth when compared with larvae fed on wild-type plants. These larvae belong to the Lepidoptera family whose main digestive enzymes have been described as being Ser proteases. All these results support the notion that tomato JIP21 should be considered as a chymotrypsin inhibitor belonging to the Ser proteinase inhibitors rather than a CDI. Therefore, we propose to name this protein tomato chymotrypsin inhibitor 21 (TCI21).

PMID:
17012408
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1630738
Free PMC Article
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