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Solid-phase extraction method for the isolation of plant thionins from European mistletoe, wheat and barley using zirconium silicate embedded in poly(styrene-co-divinylbenzene) hollow-monoliths

Hussain, Shah, Güzel, Yüksel, Schönbichler, Stefan A., Rainer, Matthias, Huck, Christian W., Bonn, Günther K.
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2013 v.405 no.23 pp. 7509-7521
Viscum album, barley, cysteine, electrostatic interactions, hydrophobicity, isolation techniques, proteins, reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography, solid phase extraction, spectrometers, sulfur, wheat, zircon
Thionins are cysteine-rich, biologically active small (∼5 kDa) and basic proteins occurring ubiquitously in the plant kingdom. This study describes an efficient solid-phase extraction (SPE) method for the selective isolation of these pharmacologically active proteins. Hollow-monolithic extraction tips based on poly(styrene-co-divinylbenzene) with embedded zirconium silicate nano-powder were designed, which showed an excellent selectivity for sulphur-rich proteins owing to strong co-ordination between zirconium and the sulphur atoms from the thiol-group of cysteine. The sorbent provides a combination of strong hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions which may help in targeted separation of certain classes of proteins in a complex mixture based upon the binding strength of different proteins. European mistletoe, wheat and barley samples were used for selective isolation of viscotoxins, purothionins and hordothionins, respectively. The enriched fractions were subjected to analysis by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation–time-of-flight mass spectrometer to prove the selectivity of the SPE method towards thionins. For peptide mass-fingerprint analysis, tryptic digests of SPE eluates were examined. Reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography hyphenated to diode-array detection was employed for the purification of individual isoforms. The developed method was found to be highly specific for the isolation and purification of thionins.