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Eur J Biochem. 1986 Sep 15;159(3):597-604.

The amino-acid sequence of the 2S sulphur-rich proteins from seeds of Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa H.B.K.).


Storage proteins of the albumin solubility fraction from seeds of Bertholletia excelsa H.B.K. were separated by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography and their primary structures were determined by gas-phase sequencing on intact polypeptides and on the overlapping tryptic and thermolysin peptides. The 2S storage proteins consist of two subunits linked by disulphide bridges. The large subunit (8.5 kDa) is expressed in at least six different isoforms while the small subunit (3.6 kDa) consists of only one form. These proteins are extremely rich in glutamine, glutamic acid, arginine and the sulphur-containing amino acids cysteine and methionine. One of the variants even contains a sequence of six methionine residues in a row. Comparison with known sequences of 2S proteins of other dicotyledonous plants shows limited but distinct sequence homology. In particular, the positions of the cysteine residues relative to each other appear to be completely conserved, suggesting that tertiary structure constraints imposed by disulphide bridges dominate sequence conservation. It has been proposed that the two subunits of a related protein (the Brassica napus storage protein) is cleaved from a precursor polypeptide [Crouch, M. L., Tenbarge, K. M., Simon, A. E. & Ferl, R. (1983) J. Mol. Appl. Genet. 2,273-283]. The amino acid sequence homology of the Brazil nut protein with the former suggests that a similar protein processing event could occur.

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