The primary structure of the sweet-tasting protein thaumatin has been elucidated. The protein consists of a single polypeptide chain of 207 residues. The sequence of the N-terminal part of the chain was determined by sequenator analysis. As the protein contains only one methionine residue, it was possible to deduce the N-terminal sequence of the C-terminal cyanogen bromide fragment by automatic sequencing of the cyanogens-bromide-cleaved, succinylated protein. To arrive at the sequence of the whole protein tryptic and Staphylococcus protease peptides, together with chymotryptic peptides and a 2-(2-nitrophenylsulfenyl)-3-methyl-3′-bromoindolenine (BNPS-skatole) fragment were also sequenced.
Comparing the amino acid sequence of thaumatin with that of the other sweet-tasting protein, monellin, we have located five sets of identical tripeptides. Since immunological cross-reactivity of thaumatin antibodies with monellin has recently been described, one or more of these tripeptides might be part of a common antibody recombination site and possibly be involved in the interaction with the sweet-taste receptor.
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Trypsin (EC 126.96.36.199)
α-chymotrypsin (EC 188.8.131.52)
Staphylococcus aureus protease V 8 (EC 3.4.12.–)