Send to

Choose Destination
Plant Physiol. 2013 Apr;161(4):2128-35. doi: 10.1104/pp.112.213645. Epub 2013 Feb 12.

A major latex-like protein is a key factor in crop contamination by persistent organic pollutants.

Author information

Research Center for Environmental Genomics, Kobe University, Kobe, Hyogo 657-8501, Japan.


This is the first report, to our knowledge, to reveal important factors by which members of the Cucurbitaceae family, such as cucumber (Cucumis sativus), watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), melon (Cucumis melo), pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo), squash (C. pepo), and zucchini (C. pepo), are selectively polluted with highly toxic hydrophobic contaminants, including organochlorine insecticides and dioxins. Xylem sap of C. pepo ssp. pepo, which is a high accumulator of hydrophobic compounds, solubilized the hydrophobic compound pyrene into the aqueous phase via some protein(s). Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of xylem sap of two C. pepo subspecies revealed that the amount of 17-kD proteins in C. pepo ssp. pepo was larger than that in C. pepo ssp. ovifera, a low accumulator, suggesting that these proteins may be related to the translocation of hydrophobic compounds. The protein bands at 17 kD contained major latex-like proteins (MLPs), and the corresponding genes MLP-PG1, MLP-GR1, and MLP-GR3 were cloned from the C. pepo cultivars Patty Green and Gold Rush. Expression of the MLP-GR3 gene in C. pepo cultivars was positively correlated with the band intensity of 17-kD proteins and bioconcentration factors toward dioxins and dioxin-like compounds. Recombinant MLP-GR3 bound polychlorinated biphenyls immobilized on magnetic beads, whereas recombinant MLP-PG1 and MLP-GR1 did not. These results indicate that the high expression of MLP-GR3 in C. pepo ssp. pepo plants and the existence of MLP-GR3 in their xylem sap are related to the efficient translocation of hydrophobic contaminants. These findings should be useful for decreasing the contamination of fruit of the Cucurbitaceae family as well as the phytoremediation of hydrophobic contaminants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center