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J Protein Chem. 2001 Aug;20(6):469-77.

Purification and characterization of a new plant endopeptidase isolated from latex of Asclepias fruticosa L. (Asclepiadaceae).

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Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina.


Asclepias fruticosa L. is a small shrub containing latex with proteolytic activity. The crude extract (latex diluted 1:250 and ultracentrifuged) contained 276 microg of protein/mL and the proteolytic activity reached 1.2 caseinolytic U/mL. This enzyme preparation was very stable even after 2 hours at 45 degrees C, but was quickly inactivated after 5 minutes at 80 degrees C. Chromatographic purification was achieved by FPLC using a cation exchanger (SP-Sepharose FF). Thus, a unique proteolitically active fraction could be isolated, being homogeneous by bidimensional electrophoresis and mass spectrometry (Mr = 23,652). The optimum pH range was achieved at 8.5-10.5. The enzyme activity was completely inhibited by specific cysteine peptidases inhibitors. Isoelectric focusing followed by zymogram showed the enzyme had a pI greater than 9.3. The N-terminus sequence (LPDSVDWREKGVVFPIRNQGK) shows a great deal of similarity to those of the other cysteine endopeptidases isolated from latices of Asclepiadaceae even when a high degree of homology could be observed with other plant cysteine endopeptidases.

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