Résumé : A 22.137 kDa protein constituent of fresh latex was isolated both from the latex of regularly damaged papaya trees and from a commercially available papain preparation. The protein was purified up to apparent homogeneity and was shown to be absent in the latex of papaya trees that had never been previously mechanically injured. This suggests that the protein belongs to pathogenesis-related protein family, as expected for several other protein constituents of papaya latex. The protein was identified as a thaumatin-like protein (class 5 of the pathogenesis-related proteins) on the basis of its partial amino acid sequence. By sequence analysis of the Carica genome, three different forms of thaumatin-like protein were identified, where the latex constituent belongs to a well-known form, allowing the molecular modeling of its spatial structure. The papaya latex thaumatin-like protein was further characterized. The protein appears to be stable in the pH interval from 2 to 10 and resistant to chemical denaturation by guanidium chloride, with a Δ Gwater0 of 15.2 kcal/mol and to proteolysis by the four papaya cysteine proteinases. The physiological role of this protein is discussed. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.