It has been proposed that microbial proteinase inhibitors, which are present in abundance in cereal grains, protect the seed against plant pathogens. So far, however, very little is known about the interactions of those inhibitors with the proteinases of phytopathogenic microbes. The increased alkaline proteinase activities of Fusarium head blight (FHB) diseased wheat and barley grain imply that the Fusarium fungi synthesize those enzymes during the colonization of the kernel. To study which barley proteins can inhibit Fusarium proteinases, and hence, possibly protect the seed from FHB, the proteins of a grain extract have been separated and tested for their abilities to inhibit two alkaline serine proteinases that we previously isolated from F. culmorum. The proteins were separated by size exclusion, ion exchange, and reversed-phase-HPLC chromatographies. The purified inhibitors were identified by their molecular masses and N-terminal amino acid sequences. The proteins that inhibited the subtilisin-like Fusarium proteinase were the chymotrypsin/subtilisin (CI) inhibitors 1A, 1B, and 2A and the barley α-amylase/subtilisin inhibitor (BASI). Only one of the purified proteins inhibited the trypsin-like proteinase, the barley Bowman−Birk inhibitor (BBBI). No novel inhibitors were detected.
- barley (Hordeum vulgare L.)