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J Chem Biol. 2015 May 12;8(3):95-105. doi: 10.1007/s12154-015-0135-3. eCollection 2015 Jul.

Prediction of protein targets of kinetin using in silico and in vitro methods: a case study on spinach seed germination mechanism.

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Department of Bioinformatics, Applied Botany Centre (ABC), Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, 380009 Gujarat India.
Department of Botany, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, 380009 Gujarat India.
Contributed equally


Kinetin, a cytokinin which promotes seed germination by inhibiting the action of abscisic acid, is an important molecule known to trigger various molecular mechanisms by interacting with an array of proteins shown from experimental observations in various model organisms. We report here the prediction of most probable protein targets of kinetin from spinach proteome using in silico approaches. Inverse docking and ligand-based similarity search was performed using kinetin as molecule. The former method prioritized six spinach proteins, whereas the latter method provided a list of protein targets retrieved from several model organisms. The most probable protein targets were selected by comparing the rank list of docking and ligand similarity methods. Both of these methods prioritized chitinase as the most probable protein target (ΔG pred = 5.064 kcal/mol) supported by the experimental structure of yeast chitinase 1 complex with kinetin (PDB: 2UY5) and Gliocladium roseum chitinase complex with 3,7-dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6-dione (caffeine; 3G6M) which bears a 3D similarity of 0.43 with kinetin. An in vitro study to evaluate the effect of kinetin on spinach seed germination indicated that a very low concentration of kinetin (0.5 mg/l) did not show a significant effect compared to control in inducing seed germination process. Further, higher levels of kinetin (>0.5 mg/l) constituted an antagonist effect on spinach seed germination. It is anticipated that kinetin may have a molecular interaction with prioritized protein targets synthesized during the seed germination process and reduces growth. Thus, it appears that kinetin may not be a suitable hormone for enhancing spinach seed germination in vitro.


Chitinase; Inverse docking; Kinetin; Ligand-based similarity search; Molecular target prediction

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