The 11S storage globulin of white lupin seeds binds to a metal affinity chromatography matrix. Two unusual stretches of contiguous histidine residues, reminiscent of the multiple histidines forming metal binding motifs, at the C-terminal end of 11S globulin acidic chains were hypothesized as candidate elements responsible for the binding capacity. To prove this, the protein was incubated with a lupin seed endopeptidase previously shown to cleave at twin arginine motifs, recurrent in the sequence region of interest. Upon incubation with this enzyme, the loss of metal binding capacity paralleled that of the anti-his-tag reactive polypeptides. The recovered small proteolytic fragment was analyzed by mass spectrometry and N-terminal sequencing and found to correspond to the 24-mer region cleaved off at twin arginine residues and containing the natural his-tag-like region. Similarly, when lupin seeds were germinated for a few days, the his-tag containing 11S globulin chain was converted to a form devoid of such region, suggesting that this mechanism is a part of the natural degradatory process of the protein. The hypothesis that the ordered and controlled dismantling of storage proteins may generate peptide fragments with potential functional roles in plant ontogenesis is presented and discussed.
Capraro, J., Sessa, F., Magni, C., Scarafoni, A., Maffioli, E., Tedeschi, G., … Duranti, M. (2015). Proteolytic cleavage at twin arginine residues affects structural and functional transitions of lupin seed 11s storage globulin. PLoS ONE, 10(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0117406