Proteomic analysis of secreted protein induced by a component of prey in pitcher fluid of the carnivorous plant Nepenthes alata

Naoya Hatano, Tatsuro Hamada

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35 Citations (Scopus)


The Nepenthes species are carnivorous plants that have evolved a specialized leaf organ, the 'pitcher', to attract, capture, and digest insects. The digested insects provide nutrients for growth, allowing these plants to grow even in poor soil. Several proteins have been identified in the pitcher fluid, including aspartic proteases (nepenthesin I and II) and pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins (β-1,3-glucanase, class IV chitinase, and thaumatin-like protein). In this study, we collected and concentrated pitcher fluid to identify minor proteins. In addition, we tried to identify the protein secreted in response to trapping the insect. To make a similar situation in which the insect falls into the pitcher, chitin which was a major component of the insect exoskeleton was added to the fluid in the pitcher. Three PR proteins, class III peroxidase (Prx), β-1,3-glucanase, and class III chitinase, were newly identified. Prx was induced after the addition of chitin to the pitcher fluid. Proteins in the pitcher fluid of the carnivorous plant Nepenthes alata probably have two roles in nutrient supply: digestion of prey and the antibacterial effect. These results suggest that the system for digesting prey has evolved from the defense system against pathogens in the carnivorous plant Nepenthes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4844-4852
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Proteomics
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 3 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • Carnivorous plants
  • LC-MS/MS
  • Nepenthes
  • PR protein
  • Peroxidase
  • Pitcher fluid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry

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