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Keywords:

  • hormone-like peptide;
  • receptor-like protein;
  • protein–protein interaction;
  • alanine-scanning mutagenesis;
  • surface plasmon resonance

Soybean 4-kDa peptide, a hormone-like peptide, is a ligand for the 43-kDa protein in legumes that functions as a protein kinase and controls cell proliferation and differentiation. As this peptide stimulates protein kinase activity, the interaction between the 4-kDa peptide (leginsulin) and the 43-kDa protein is considered important for signal transduction. However, the mechanism of interaction between the 4-kDa peptide and the 43-kDa protein is not clearly understood. We therefore investigated the binding mechanism between the 4-kDa peptide and the 43-kDa protein, by using gel-filtration chromatography and dot-blot immunoanalysis, and found that the 4-kDa peptide bound to the dimer form of the 43-kDa protein. Surface plasmon resonance analysis was then used to explore the interaction between the 4-kDa peptide and the 43-kDa protein. To identify the residues of the 4-kDa peptide involved in the interaction with the 43-kDa protein, alanine-scanning mutagenesis of the 4-kDa peptide was performed. The 4-kDa peptide-expression system in Escherichia coli, which has the ability to install disulfide bonds into the target protein in the cytoplasm, was employed to produce the 4-kDa peptide and its variants. Using mass spectrometry, the expressed peptides were confirmed as the oxidized forms of the native peptide. Surface plasmon resonance analysis showed that the C-terminal hydrophobic area of the 4-kDa peptide plays an important role in binding to the 43-kDa protein.