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Plant Physiol. 1996 May;111(1):269-73.

A cherry protein and its gene, abundantly expressed in ripening fruit, have been identified as thaumatin-like.

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Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Agroparc, Domaine Saint Paul, Station de Technologie des Produits Végétaux, Avignon, France.


A 29-kD polypeptide is the most abundant soluble protein in ripe cherry fruit (Prunus avium L); accumulation begins at the onset of ripening as the fruit turns from yellow to red. This protein was extracted from ripe cherries and purified by size-exclusion and ion-exchange chromatography. Antibodies to the purified protein were used to screen a cDNA library from ripe cherries. Numerous recombinant plaques reacted positively with the antibodies; the DNA sequence of representative clones encoded a polypeptide of 245 amino acid residues. A signal peptide was indicated, and the predicted mature protein corresponded to the purified protein in size (23.3 kD, by mass spectrometry) and isoelectric point (4.2). A search of known protein sequences revealed a strong similarity between this polypeptide and the thaumatin family of pathogenesis-related proteins. The cherry thaumatin-like protein does not have a sweet taste, and no antifungal activity was seen in preliminary assays. Expression of the protein appears to be regulated at the gene level, with mRNA levels at their highest in the ripe fruit.

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