Annals of Botany

Proteome analysis of digestive fluids in Nepenthes pitchers

Carnivorous plants have developed pitcher modified leaves that can trap and digest various prey. These pitchers produce a digestive fluid composed of proteins, including hydrolytic enzymes.

The trap of a pitcher plant
Nepenthes, always happy for you to drop in. Photo: Angela Sevin / Flickr

Using a proteomic approach on different Nepenthes species together with a transcriptomic analysis, Hehn et al. identified 20 proteins that have never been reported so far for these plants. This study provides evidence that these different species have evolved a specific arsenal of enzymes to digest prey caught in their traps.