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Phytochemistry. 2004 Jun;65(12):1795-804.

Proteomics of curcurbit phloem exudate reveals a network of defence proteins.

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Department L. Willmitzer, Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Am Muehlenberg 1, 14424 Potsdam, Germany.


Many different proteins can be separated from the sap of mature sieve tubes of different plant species. To date, only a limited number of those have been identified and functionally characterised. Due to sieve tubes inability of transcription and translation, the proteins are most probably synthesised in the intimately connected companion cells and transported into the sieve elements through plasmodesmata. The specific protein composition of phloem sap suggests an important role of these proteins not only for sieve tube maintenance, but also for whole plant physiology and development. Here we describe a comprehensive analysis of the phloem protein composition employing one- and high-resolution two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and partial sequencing by mass spectrometry. In this study more than 300 partial sequences generated by hybrid mass spectrometry were used to identify a total of 45 different proteins from the phloem exudates of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Hoffmanns Giganta) and pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima Duch. cv. Gelber Zentner) plants. In addition to previously described phloem proteins, it was possible to localise proteins with high similarity to an acyl-CoA binding protein, a glyoxalase, a malate dehydrogenase, a rhodanese-like protein, a drought-induced protein, and a beta-glucosidase. The results indicate that the majority of the so far identified proteins are involved in stress and defence reactions.

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