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J Agric Food Chem. 2011 May 11;59(9):4814-21. doi: 10.1021/jf104638b. Epub 2011 Apr 5.

In silico structural characteristics and α-amylase inhibitory properties of Ric c 1 and Ric c 3, allergenic 2S albumins from Ricinus communis seeds.

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Laboratório de Química e Função de Proteínas e Peptídeos, Centro de Biociências e Biotecnologia, Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense Darcy Ribeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


The major Ricinus communis allergens are the 2S albumins, Ric c 1 and Ric c 3. These proteins contain a trypsin/α-amylase inhibitor family domain, suggesting that they have a role in insect resistance. In this study, we verified that Ric c 1 and Ric c 3 inhibited the α-amylase activity of Callosobruchus maculatus, Zabrotes subfasciatus, and Tenebrio molitor (TMA) larvae as well as mammalian α-amylase. The toxicity of 2S albumin was determined through its incorporation in C. maculatus larvae as part of an artificial diet. Bioassays revealed that 2S albumin reduced larval growth by 20%. We also analyzed the tridimensional structures of Ric c 1 and Ric c 3 by (a) constructing a comparative model of Ric c 1 based on Ric c 3 NMR structure and (b) constructing the theoretical structure of the Ric c 1-TMA and Ric c 3-TMA complexes. Our biological and theoretical results revealed that Ric c 1 and Ric c 3 are a new class of α-amylase inhibitors. They could potentially be used to help design inhibitors that would be useful in diverse fields, ranging from diabetes treatment to crop protection.

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