Chymotrypsin-like peptidases in insects

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Open Access logo originally created by the Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Title: Chymotrypsin-like peptidases in insects
Authors: Bröhan, Gunnar
Thesis advisor: apl. Prof. Dr. Hans Merzendorfer
Thesis referee: Prof. Dr. Achim Paululat
Abstract: Digestion of proteins in the midgut of lepidopteran larvae relies on different types of peptidases, among the trypsins and chymotrypsins. In this work four chymotrypsinlike peptidases (MsCTLP1–4) were identified from the larval midgut of M. sexta, which are distantly related to another chymotrypsin (MsCT), a previously described peptidase present in the larval midgut of M. sexta. MsCTLP1–4 fit perfectly into a novel subgroup of insect CTLPs by sequence similarity and by the replacement of GP by SA in the highly conserved GDSGGP motif. Examination of MsCTLP expression in different tissues showed that most of the peptidases were predominantly expressed in the anterior and median midgut, while some were found in the Malpighian tubules. Expression analysis of MsCTLPs at different physiological states revealed that the mRNA amounts did not differ considerably in feeding and starving larvae except for MsCTLP2, whose mRNA dropped significantly upon starvation. During molting, however, the mRNA amounts of all MsCTLPs dropped significantly. Immunological determination of MsCTLP1 amounts showed that the mature peptidase was only detectable in the gut lumen of feeding and re-fed larvae, but not in that of starving or molting larvae, suggesting that MsCTLP1 secretion is suspended during starvation or molt. Differential regulation of transcript levels as well as their partial expression in Malpighian tubules might point to a role, which is distinct from digestion for at least some MsCTLPs. In line with this assumption, MsCTLP1 was shown to interact with the chitin synthase 2 (MsCHS2), necessary for chitin synthesis in the course of peritrophic matrix formation in the midgut of M. sexta. The occurrence of this interaction in vivo is supported by colocalization and co-immunoprecipitation. The data suggest that chitin synthesis is controlled by an intestinal proteolytic signaling cascade linking chitin synthase activity to the nutritional state of the larvae. As MsCTLP1 appears to be involved in such signaling cascades, other midgut peptidases could have other targets and may therefore regulate different activities. To gain more insight into the functions of CTLPs, the gene family encoding these peptidases in the genome of the red flour beetle, T. castaneum, was analyzed. Using an extended search pattern, 14 TcCTLP genes were identified that encode peptidases with S1 specificity pocket residues typically found in chymotrypsin-like enzymes. Analysis of the expression patterns of seven TcCTLP genes at various developmental stages revealed that some TcCTLP genes were exclusively expressed in feeding larval and adult stages (TcCTLP-5A/B, TcCTLP-6A). Others were also detected in non-feeding embryonic (TcCTLP-5C, TcCTLP-6D) and pupal stages (TcCTLP-5C, TcCTLP- 6C/D/E). TcCTLP genes were expressed predominantly in the midgut where they presumably function in digestion. However, TcCTLP-5C and TcCTLP-6C also showed considerable expression in the carcass. The latter two genes might therefore encode peptidases that act as molting fluid enzymes. To test this hypothesis, western blots were performed using protein extracts from larval exuviae. The extracts reacted with antibodies to TcCTLP-5C and TcCTLP-6C suggesting that the corresponding peptidases are secreted into the molting fluid. Finally, systemic RNAi experiments were performed. While injections of dsRNAs to TcCTLP-5A/B and TcCTLP-6A/D/E into penultimate larvae did not affect growth or development, injection of dsRNA for TcCTLP-5C and TcCTLP-6C resulted in severe molting defects. Recombinant expressed TcCTLP-5C2 was moreover activated by trypsin and was able to hydrolyze AAPF, hence making TcCTLP-5C the first described chymotrypsin-like peptidase ever to be involved in molting.
Subject Keywords: Chymotrypsin; Insects; Chymotrypsin-like peptidase; Manduca sexta; Midgut; Chitin synthesis; Peritrophic matrix; Serine peptidase; Cuticle; Molting fluid; RNA interference; Tribolium castaneum; Coleoptera; Lepidoptera
Issue Date: 18-Aug-2010
License name: Namensnennung-NichtKommerziell-KeineBearbeitung 3.0 Deutschland
License url:
Type of publication: Dissertation oder Habilitation [doctoralThesis]
Appears in Collections:FB05 - E-Dissertationen

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
thesis_broehan.pdfPräsentationsformat5,8 MBAdobe PDF

This item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons