A 6.5 kDa serine protease inhibitor was purified by anion-exchange chromatography from the crude extract of the Inga umbratica seeds, containing inhibitor isoforms ranging from 6.3 to 6.7 kDa and protease inhibitors of ∼19 kDa. The purified protein was characterized as a potent inhibitor against trypsin and chymotrypsin and it was named I. umbratica trypsin and chymotrypsin inhibitor (IUTCI). MALDI-TOF spectra of the IUTCI, in the presence of DTT, showed six disulfide bonds content, suggesting that this inhibitor belongs to Bowman-Birk family. The circular dichroism spectroscopy indicates that IUTCI is predominantly formed by unordered and β-sheet secondary structure. It was also characterized, by fluorescence spectroscopy, as a stable protein at range of pH from 5.0 to 7.0. Moreover, this inhibitor at concentration of 75 μM presented a remarkable inhibitory activity (60%) against digestive serine proteases from boll weevil Anthonomus grandis, an important economical cotton pest.
Keywords: protease inhibitor, chymotrypsin inhibitor, trypsin inhibitor, amazon forest, bowman-birk inhibitor, Inga umbratica, insect control, anthonomus grandis
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