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Pectin methylesterase activity of plant DUF538 protein superfamily


DUF538 (domain of unknown function 538) proteins are known as a group of putative hypothetical proteins in a wide range of plant species. They have been identified from some plants challenged with various environmental stresses. However, a little is known about their functional properties. They have been newly predicted to have binding capacity and esterase-type hydrolytic activity towards bacterial lipopolysaccharides and chlorophyll molecules as carboxylic compounds in plants. In the present study, the binding ability and the methylesterase activity of DUF538 proteins towards pectin molecules were also predicted. Their similarities to pectin methylesterases and their binding ability to pectin molecule were predicted using bioinformatic tools as well as the experimental method. A probable cooperation was speculated between DUF538 and pectin methylesterase protein families in cell wall associated defense responses in plants.

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Beta mercaptoethanol


Domain of unknown function


Ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid


Maltose binding protein


Optical density


Polyacryl amide gel electrophoresis


Standard deviation


Sodium dodecyl sulfate


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The author of this paper is thankful to the Research Institute for Fundamental Sciences (RIFS) (Grant No. 6906), University of Tabriz for the financial support.

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Correspondence to Ashraf Gholizadeh.

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Gholizadeh, A. Pectin methylesterase activity of plant DUF538 protein superfamily. Physiol Mol Biol Plants 26, 829–839 (2020).

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  • DUF538
  • Hydrolysis
  • Methylesterase
  • Pectin
  • Stress protein