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Nat Chem Biol. 2011 May;7(5):257-9. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.542. Epub 2011 Mar 20.

Albumins and their processing machinery are hijacked for cyclic peptides in sunflower.

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Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


The cyclic peptide sunflower trypsin inhibitor 1 (SFTI-1) blocks trypsin and is a promising drug lead and protein engineering scaffold. We show that SFTI-1 and the newfound SFT-L1 are buried within PawS1 and PawS2, precursors for seed storage protein albumins. Proalbumins are matured by asparaginyl endopeptidase, which we show is required to liberate both ends of SFTI-1 as well as to mature PawS1 albumin. Thus, these peptides emerge from within an albumin precursor by the action of albumin's own processing enzyme.

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