Hydrophobins are a group of low-molecular-mass, cysteine-rich proteins that have unusual biophysical properties. They are highly surface-active and can self-assemble at hydrophobic–hydrophilic interfaces, forming surface layers that are able to reverse the hydropathy of surfaces. Here we describe a novel hydrophobin from the edible mushroom Grifola frondosa, which was named HGFI and belongs to class I. The hydrophobin gene was identified during sequencing of random clones from a cDNA library, and the corresponding protein was isolated as a hot SDS-insoluble aggregate from the cell wall. The purified HGFI was found to have 83 amino acids. The protein sequence deduced from the cDNA sequence had 107 amino acids, from which a 24 aa signal sequence had been cleaved off in the mature protein. This signal sequence was 5 aa longer than had been predicted on the basis of signal peptide analysis of the cDNA. Rodlet mosaic structures were imaged using atomic force microscopy (AFM) on mica surfaces after drying-down HGFI solutions. Using Langmuir films we were also able to take images of both the hydrophobic and hydrophilic sides of films formed at the air–water interface. No distinct structure was observed in films compressed once, but in films compressed several times rodlet structures could be seen. Most rodlets were aligned in the same direction, indicating that formation of rodlets may be promoted during compression of the monolayer.
- Grifola frondosa