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Inhibition of Growth of Aspergillus flavus and Fungal α-Amylases by a Lectin-Like Protein from Lablab purpureus

August 2001 , Volume 14 , Number  8
Pages  955 - 961

A. M. Fakhoury and C. P. Woloshuk

Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, U.S.A.

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Accepted 4 April 2001.

Aspergillus flavus is a fungal pathogen of maize causing an important ear rot disease when plants are exposed to drought and heat stress. Associated with the disease is the production of aflatoxins, which are a series of structurally related mycotoxins known to be carcinogenic. Previous research has suggested that the α-amylase of A. flavus promotes aflatoxin production in the endosperm of infected maize kernels. We report here the isolation and characterization of a 36-kDa α-amylase inhibitor from Lablab purpureus (AILP). AILP inhibited the α-amylases from several fungi but had little effect on those from animal and plant sources. The protein inhibited conidial germination and hyphal growth of A. flavus. The amino acid sequence indicated that AILP is similar to lectin members of a lectin-arcelin-α-amylase inhibitor family described in common bean and shown to be a component of plant resistance to insect pests. AILP also agglutinated papain-treated red blood cells from human and rabbit. These data indicate that AILP represents a novel variant in the lectin-arcelin-α-amylase inhibitor family of proteins having lectin-like and α-amylase inhibitory activity.

© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society