The present investigation shows the ability of peptides to induce capture organ formation in Arthrobotrys oligospora when applied in a synthetic low nutrient medium.
Under certain conditions casitone was shown to induce capture organ formation. The active principle in casitone was concentrated and purified by alternating procedures of ion exchange chromatography and gel chromatography in pyridine-acetic acid buffers. Crude casitone solutions were applied to columns of Dowex 50 W-X2 and eluted stepwise with 0.1–1.0 M pyridine-acetic acid pH 3.2–5.1. Active portions, free from most acid and neutral amino acids, were further purified on columns of Sephadex G-10 in 0.1 M pyridine-acetic acid pH 4.6. Aromatic amino acids and large molecules in the void volume could be separated from an active peptide mixture which was subjected to renewed ion exchange chromatography on Bio-Rad AG 50 W-X2. By stepwise and/or gradient elution in 0.1–0.5 M pyridine-acetic acid pH 3.2 fairly purified peptides were obtained.
The composition of the test medium is an important factor in spontaneous capture organ formation. The peptides isolated from casitone induced capture organ formation, when given to the fungus in a synthetic mineral salt medium supplied with thiamin and biotin. Similar effects were obtained with small synthetic peptides in the same concentration (0.1 mg/ml). A large variety of peptides seem to be active when applied in a suitable medium. This was especially true for peptides with Rf > Rfleu on thin layers of cellulose developed with butanol-acetic acid-water (4: 1: 1). Of the peptides investigated valyl-peptides exerted the most drastic effect.