The aspartic proteinase of barley is a vacuolar enzyme that processes probarley lectin in vitro

Pia Runeberg-Roos, Jukka Kervinen, Valentina Kovaleva, Natasha V. Raikhel, Susannah Gal

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100 Scopus citations


Previous work suggested that the aspartic proteinase from Hordeum vulgare (HvAP) would be a vacuolar protein in plant cells. Based on N-terminal sequencing we show that the in vitro-translated protein was translocated into the lumen of microsomal membranes, causing a concomitant removal of 25 amino acid residues from the protein. Vacuoles were purified from barley leaf protoplasts and were shown to contain all of the aspartic proteinase activity found in the protoplasts. This vacuolar localization of HvAP was confirmed with immunocytochemical electron microscopy using antibodies to HvAP in both barley leaf and root cells. In an attempt to discern a function for this protease, we investigated the ability of HvAP to process the C-terminal proregion of barley lectin (BL) in vitro. Prolectin (proBL), expressed in bacteria, was processed rapidly when HvAP was added. Using several means, we were able to determine that 13 amino acid residues at the C terminus of proBL were cleaved off, whereas the N terminus stayed intact during this incubation, Immunohistochemical electron microscopy showed that HvAP and BL are co-localized in the root cells of developing embryos and germinating seedlings. Thus, we propose that the vacuolar HvAP participates in processing the C terminus of BL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-329
Number of pages9
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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