Pectin methylesterase inhibitor

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Feb 12;1696(2):245-52. doi: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2003.08.011.


Pectin methylesterase (PME) is the first enzyme acting on pectin, a major component of plant cell wall. PME action produces pectin with different structural and functional properties, having an important role in plant physiology. Regulation of plant PME activity is obtained by the differential expression of several isoforms in different tissues and developmental stages and by subtle modifications of cell wall local pH. Inhibitory activities from various plant sources have also been reported. A proteinaceous inhibitor of PME (PMEI) has been purified from kiwi fruit. The kiwi PMEI is active against plant PMEs, forming a 1:1 non-covalent complex. The polypeptide chain comprises 152 amino acid residues and contains five Cys residues, four of which are connected by disulfide bridges, first to second and third to fourth. The sequence shows significant similarity with the N-terminal pro-peptides of plant PME, and with plant invertase inhibitors. In particular, the four Cys residues involved in disulfide bridges are conserved. On the basis of amino acid sequence similarity and Cys residues conservation, a large protein family including PMEI, invertase inhibitors and related proteins of unknown function has been identified. The presence of at least two sequences in the Arabidopsis genome having high similarity with kiwi PMEI suggests the ubiquitous presence of this inhibitor. PMEI has an interest in food industry as inhibitor of endogenous PME, responsible for phase separation and cloud loss in fruit juice manufacturing. Affinity chromatography on resin-bound PMEI can also be used to concentrate and detect residual PME activity in fruit and vegetable products.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actinidia*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / metabolism*
  • Food-Processing Industry
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pectins / chemistry
  • Pectins / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Isoenzymes
  • Plant Proteins
  • Pectins
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases
  • pectinesterase