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Toxins 2017, 9(4), 123; doi:10.3390/toxins9040123

Extensive Evolution of Cereal Ribosome-Inactivating Proteins Translates into Unique Structural Features, Activation Mechanisms, and Physiological Roles

Lab Biochemistry and Glycobiology, Department of Molecular Biotechnology, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
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Academic Editors: Julien Barbier and Daniel Gillet
Received: 27 February 2017 / Revised: 21 March 2017 / Accepted: 25 March 2017 / Published: 29 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ribosome Inactivating Toxins)
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Abstract

Ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs) are a class of cytotoxic enzymes that can depurinate rRNAs thereby inhibiting protein translation. Although these proteins have also been detected in bacteria, fungi, and even some insects, they are especially prevalent in the plant kingdom. This review focuses on the RIPs from cereals. Studies on the taxonomical distribution and evolution of plant RIPs suggest that cereal RIPs have evolved at an enhanced rate giving rise to a large and heterogeneous RIP gene family. Furthermore, several cereal RIP genes are characterized by a unique domain architecture and the lack of a signal peptide. This advanced evolution of cereal RIPs translates into distinct structures, activation mechanisms, and physiological roles. Several cereal RIPs are characterized by activation mechanisms that include the proteolytic removal of internal peptides from the N-glycosidase domain, a feature not documented for non-cereal RIPs. Besides their role in defense against pathogenic fungi or herbivorous insects, cereal RIPs are also involved in endogenous functions such as adaptation to abiotic stress, storage, induction of senescence, and reprogramming of the translational machinery. The unique properties of cereal RIPs are discussed in this review paper. View Full-Text
Keywords: b-32; cereals; JIP60; Ribosome-inactivating proteins; RIP b-32; cereals; JIP60; Ribosome-inactivating proteins; RIP
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Zaeytijd, J.D.; Damme, E.J.M.V. Extensive Evolution of Cereal Ribosome-Inactivating Proteins Translates into Unique Structural Features, Activation Mechanisms, and Physiological Roles. Toxins 2017, 9, 123.

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