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BACKGROUND: Higher plants possess several mechanisms of defense against plant pathogens. Proteins actively synthesized in response to those stresses are called defense‐related proteins which, among others, include certain protease inhibitors. It is of particular relevance to investigate plant natural defense mechanisms for pathogen control which include cystatins—specific inhibitors of cysteine proteases. RESULTS: In this study, a cysteine proteinase inhibitor (CPI), 11 kDa in size, was purified from green kiwifruit to homogeneity. Immuno‐tissue print results indicated that CPI is most abundant in the outer layer of pericarp, near the peel, and the inner most part of the pulp—sites where it could act as a natural barrier against pathogens entering the fruit. The purified protein (15 µmol L−1) showed antifungal activity against two phytopathogenic fungi (Alternaria radicina and Botrytis cinerea) by inhibiting fungal spore germination. In vivo, CPI (10 µmol L−1) was able to prevent artificial infection of apple and carrot with spore suspension of B. cinerea and A. radicina, respectively. It also exerted activity on both intracellular and fermentation fluid proteinases. CONCLUSION: Identification and characterization of plant defense molecules is the first step towards creation of improved methods for pathogen control based on naturally occurring molecules. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry  相似文献
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