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Proteolytic Activities of Kiwifruit Actinidin (Actinidia deliciosa cv. Hayward) on Different Fibrous and Globular Proteins: A Comparative Study of Actinidin with Papain


Actinidin, a member of the papain-like family of cysteine proteases, is abundant in kiwifruit. To date, a few studies have been provided to investigate the proteolytic activity and substrate specificity of actinidin on native proteins. Herein, the proteolytic activity of actinidin was compared to papain on several different fibrous and globular proteins under neutral, acidic and basic conditions. The digested samples were subjected to sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and densitometry to assess the proteolytic effect. Furthermore, the levels of free amino nitrogen (FAN) of the treated samples were determined using the ninhydrin colorimetric method. The findings showed that actinidin has no or limited proteolytic effect on globular proteins such as immunoglobulins including sheep IgG, rabbit IgG, chicken IgY and fish IgM, bovine serum albumin (BSA), lipid transfer protein (LTP), and whey proteins (α-lactalbumin and β-lactoglobulin) compared to papain. In contrast to globular proteins, actinidin could hydrolyze collagen and fibrinogen perfectly at neutral and mild basic pHs. Moreover, this enzyme could digest pure α-casein and major subunits of micellar casein especially in acidic pHs. Taken together, the data indicated that actinidin has narrow substrate specificity with the highest enzymatic activity for the collagen and fibrinogen substrates. The results describe the actinidin as a mild plant protease useful for many special applications such as cell isolation from different tissues and some food industries as a mixture formula with other relevant proteases.

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The financial supports from the Research Councils of Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences and Medical Biology Research Center are gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Ali Mostafaie.

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Chalabi, M., Khademi, F., Yarani, R. et al. Proteolytic Activities of Kiwifruit Actinidin (Actinidia deliciosa cv. Hayward) on Different Fibrous and Globular Proteins: A Comparative Study of Actinidin with Papain. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 172, 4025–4037 (2014).

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  • Actinidin
  • Kiwifruit
  • Papain
  • Protease
  • Protein