Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
versão On-line ISSN 1414-431X
VENANCIO, T.M. et al. A protein with amino acid sequence homology to bovine insulin is present in the legume Vigna unguiculata (cowpea). Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2003, vol.36, n.9, pp. 1167-1173. ISSN 1414-431X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-879X2003000900004.
Since the discovery of bovine insulin in plants, much effort has been devoted to the characterization of these proteins and elucidation of their functions. We report here the isolation of a protein with similar molecular mass and same amino acid sequence to bovine insulin from developing fruits of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) genotype Epace 10. Insulin was measured by ELISA using an anti-human insulin antibody and was detected both in empty pods and seed coats but not in the embryo. The highest concentrations (about 0.5 ng/µg of protein) of the protein were detected in seed coats at 16 and 18 days after pollination, and the values were 1.6 to 4.0 times higher than those found for isolated pods tested on any day. N-terminal amino acid sequencing of insulin was performed on the protein purified by C4-HPLC. The significance of the presence of insulin in these plant tissues is not fully understood but we speculate that it may be involved in the transport of carbohydrate to the fruit.
Palavras-chave : Insulin; Insulin-like; Cowpea; Vigna unguiculata; Developing fruits; Sequence homology; Evolution.