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Native and artificial forisomes: Functions and applications

: Noll, G.A.; Müller, B.; Ernst, A.M.; Rüping, B.; Twyman, R.M.; Prüfer, D.


Applied microbiology and biotechnology 89 (2011), No.6, pp.1675-1682
ISSN: 0171-1741
ISSN: 0175-7598
ISSN: 1432-0614
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()

Forisomes are remarkable protein bodies found exclusively in the phloem of the Fabaceae. When the phloem is wounded, forisomes are converted from a condensed to a dispersed state in an ATP-independent reaction triggered by Ca2+, thereby plugging the sieve tubes and preventing the loss of photoassimilates. Potentially, forisomes are ideal biomaterials for technical devices because the conformational changes can be replicated in vitro and are fully reversible over a large number of cycles. However, the development of technical devices based on forisomes has been hampered by the laborious and time-consuming process of purifying native forisomes from plants. More recently, the problem has been overcome by the production of recombinant artificial forisomes. This is a milestone in the development of forisome-based devices, not only because large quantities of homogeneous forisomes can be produced on demand, but also because their properties can be tailored for particular appl ications. In this review, we discuss the physical and molecular properties of native and artificial forisomes, focusing on their current applications in technical devices and potential developments in the future.