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Dimerization and protease resistance: New insight into the function of PR-1

Shunwen Lu, Justin D. Faris, Robert Sherwood, Michael C. Edwards
Journal of plant physiology 2013 v.170 no.1 pp. 105-110
sequence analysis, pathogenesis-related proteins, protein synthesis, Komagataella pastoris, host-pathogen relationships, fungal diseases of plants, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, yeasts, proteolysis, mutation, dimerization, Western blotting, subtilisin, wheat, Triticum aestivum, active sites, bovine serum albumin, hypersensitive response, apoptosis, cysteine proteinases
The group 1 pathogenesis-related (PR-1) proteins have long been considered hallmarks of hypersensitive response/defense pathways in plants, but their biochemical functions are still obscure despite resolution of the NMR/X-ray structures of several PR-1-like proteins, including P14a (the prototype PR-1). We report here the characterization of two basic PR-1 proteins (PR-1-1 and PR-1-5) recently identified from hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum). Both proteins were expressed in Pichia pastoris as a single major species of ∼15kDa. Sequence identity of the expressed PR-1 proteins was verified by MALDI-TOF/TOF analysis. Accumulation of the native PR-1-5 protein in pathogen-challenged wheat was confirmed by protein gel blot analysis. Low-temperature SDS-PAGE and yeast two-hybrid assays revealed that PR-1-1 exists primarily as a monomer whereas PR-1-5 forms homodimers. Both PR-1 proteins are resistant to proteases compared to bovine serum albumin, but PR-1-1 shows resistance mainly to subtilisin and protease K (serine proteases) whereas PR-1-5 shows resistance to subtilisin, protease K and papain (a cysteine protease). Site-specific mutations at the five putative active sites in the PR-1 domain all affected dimerization, with the mutations at Glu-72 and Glu-102 (in the PR-1-5 numeration) also diminishing protease resistance. Sequence analysis revealed that the Glu-72 and Glu-102 residues are located in motif-like sequences that are conserved in both PR-1 and the human apoptosis-related caspase proteins. These findings prompt us to examine the function of PR-1 for a role in protease-mediated programmed cell death pathways in plants.