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Specific Binding Sites for an Antifungal Plant Defensin from Dahlia (Dahlia merckii) on Fungal Cells Are Required for Antifungal Activity

January 2000 , Volume 13 , Number  1
Pages  54 - 61

Karin Thevissen , 1 Rupert W. Osborn , 2 David P. Acland , 2 and Willem F. Broekaert 1

1F. A. Janssens Laboratory of Genetics, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, K. Mercierlaan 92, B-3001 Heverlee-Leuven, Belgium; 2Zeneca Agrochemicals, Jealott's Hill Research Station, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG42 6ET, U.K.

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Accepted 13 September 1999.

Dm-AMP1, an antifungal plant defensin from seeds of dahlia (Dahlia merckii), was radioactively labeled with t-butoxycarbonyl-[35S]-L-methionine N-hydroxy-succinimi-dylester. This procedure yielded a 35S-labeled peptide with unaltered antifungal activity. [35S]Dm-AMP1 was used to assess binding on living cells of the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa and the unicellular fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Binding of [35S]Dm-AMP1 to fungal cells was saturable and could be competed for by preincubation with excess, unlabeled Dm-AMP1 as well as with Ah-AMP1 and Ct-AMP1, two plant defensins that are highly homologous to Dm-AMP1. In contrast, binding could not be competed for by more distantly related plant defensins or structurally unrelated antimicrobial peptides. Binding of [35S]Dm-AMP1 to either N. crassa or S. cerevisiae cells was apparently irreversible. In addition, whole cells and microsomal membrane fractions from two independently obtained S. cerevisiae mutants selected for resistance to Dm-AMP1 exhibited severely reduced binding affinity for [35S]Dm-AMP1, compared with wild-type yeast. This finding suggests that binding of Dm-AMP1 to S. cerevisiae plasma membranes is required for antifungal activity of this protein.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society