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J Biol Chem. 1999 Aug 27;274(35):24959-64.

Purification, characterization, and amino acid sequence of cerato-platanin, a new phytotoxic protein from Ceratocystis fimbriata f. sp. platani.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Biochimiche, Università di Firenze, V. le Morgagni 50, 50134, Firenze, Italy.


A new phytotoxic protein (cerato-platanin) of about 12.4 kDa has been identified in culture filtrates of the Ascomycete Ceratocystis fimbriata f. sp. platani, the causal agent of canker stain disease. The toxicity of the pure protein was bioassayed by detecting the inducing necrosis in tobacco leaves. The pure protein also elicited host synthesis of fluorescent substances in tobacco and plane (Platanus acerifolia) leaves. We purified the protein from culture medium to homogeneity. Its complete amino acid sequence was determined; this protein consists of 120 amino acid residues, contains 4 cysteines (S-S-bridged), and has a high percentage of hydrophobic residues. The molecular weight calculated from the amino acid sequence agrees with that determined by mass spectrometry, suggesting that no post-transnational modification occurs. Searches performed by the BLAST program in data banks (Swiss-Prot, EBI, and GenBank(TM)) revealed that this protein is highly homologous with two proteins produced by other Ascomycete fungi. One, produced during infection of wheat leaves, is codified by the snodprot1 gene of Phaeosphaeria nodorum (the causal agent of glume blotch of wheat), whereas the other is the rAsp f13 allergen from Aspergillus fumigatus. Furthermore, the N terminus of cerato-platanin is homologous with that of cerato-ulmin, a phytotoxic protein belonging to the hydrophobin family and produced by Ophiostoma (Ceratocystis) ulmi, a fungus responsible for Dutch elm disease.

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