The pro-phenoloxidase of coleopteran insect, Tenebrio molitor, larvae was activated during cell clump/cell adhesion of insect cellular defense reactions. (1/981)

To characterize the proteins involved in cell clump/cell adhesion of insect cellular defense reactions, we induced the cell clump/cell adhesion reaction in vitro with the hemolymph of larvae of the coleopteran insect, Tenebrio molitor. The 72 kDa protein was specifically enriched in the residues of cell clump/cell adhesion and was purified to homogeneity. A cDNA clone for the 72 kDa protein was isolated. We found that the 72 kDa protein was an activated phenoloxidase from Tenebrio pro-phenoloxidase. We suggest that activated phenoloxidase is involved in the cell clump/cell adhesion reaction as well as in the synthesis of melanin.  (+info)

Acidification of the phagosome in Crassostrea virginica hemocytes following engulfment of zymosan. (2/981)

Phagocytic hemocytes are responsible for engulfing and internally degrading foreign organisms within the hemolymph and tissue of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. Since rapid acidification of the phagosome lumen is typically essential for activation of hydrolytic and reactive oxygen intermediate (ROI) producing enzymes in vertebrate cells, we measured phagosomal pH in oyster hemocytes by using the emission fluorescence of two fluorescent probes, rhodamine and Oregon Green 488 (OG 488), conjugated to zymosan to determine whether oyster hemocyte phagosomes become acidified after phagocytosis of zymosan. The average pH of 1079 phagosomes within 277 hemocytes 1 h after phagocytosis of zymosan was 3.9 +/- 0.03. Observations of 141 hemocytes with internalized zymosan by light microscopy revealed that, over a 60-min time period, 51% of highly granular hemocytes became partially granular, and 29% became agranular. In addition, 83% of partially granular hemocytes containing zymosan at time = 0 became agranular within 60 min. A comparison revealed that the phagosomes of agranular hemocytes were much more acidic (pH 3.1 +/- 0.02) than those of highly granular hemocytes (4.9 +/- 0.02; P < 0.05). These values are significantly lower than most reported in the literature for blood cells from metazoan organisms.  (+info)

Respecified larval proleg and body wall muscles circulate hemolymph in developing wings of Manduca sexta pupae. (3/981)

Most larval external muscles in Manduca sexta degenerate at pupation, with the exception of the accessory planta retractor muscles (APRMs) in proleg-bearing abdominal segment 3 and their homologs in non-proleg-bearing abdominal segment 2. In pupae, these APRMs exhibit a rhythmic 'pupal motor pattern' in which all four muscles contract synchronously at approximately 4 s intervals for long bouts, without externally visible movements. On the basis of indirect evidence, it was proposed previously that APRM contractions during the pupal motor pattern circulate hemolymph in the developing wings and legs. This hypothesis was tested in the present study by making simultaneous electromyographic recordings of APRM activity and contact thermographic recordings of hemolymph flow in pupal wings. APRM contractions and hemolymph flow were strictly correlated during the pupal motor pattern. The proposed circulatory mechanism was further supported by the findings that unilateral ablation of APRMs or mechanical uncoupling of the wings from the abdomen essentially abolished wing hemolymph flow on the manipulated side of the body. Rhythmic contractions of intersegmental muscles, which sometimes accompany the pupal motor pattern, had a negligible effect on hemolymph flow. The conversion of larval proleg and body wall muscles to a circulatory function in pupae represents a particularly dramatic example of functional respecification during metamorphosis.  (+info)

Range of activity and metabolic stability of synthetic antibacterial glycopeptides from insects. (4/981)

Antibacterial glycopeptides isolated from insects are exciting bio-oligomers because they represent a family of compounds in which the structural and functional effects of incorporating short O-linked sugars to protein fragments can be studied. Additionally, their high activity in vitro warrants detailed further drug development efforts. Due to the limited availability of the isolated material, we used synthetic glycopeptides and some analogs to investigate the range of activity of drosocin and pyrrhocoricin. While addition of the Gal-GalNAc disaccharide to the natural mid-chain position generally increased the antibacterial activity of drosocin, pyrrhocoricin lacking sugar appeared to be more potent, with an IC50 against Escherichia coli D22 of 150 nM. Although glycosylated drosocin was active against E. coli in the low microM range in vitro, this peptide was completely inactive when injected into mice. The lack of in vivo activity of drosocin could be explained by the unusually high degradation rate of the peptides in mammalian sera. The early degradation products were inactive in vitro. In contrast, the peptides were considerably more stable in insect hemolymph, where their natural activity is manifested.  (+info)

Insect immunity. Isolation from the lepidopteran Heliothis virescens of a novel insect defensin with potent antifungal activity. (5/981)

Lepidoptera have been reported to produce several antibacterial peptides in response to septic injury. However, in marked contrast to other insect groups, no inducible antifungal molecules had been described so far in this insect order. Surprisingly, also cysteine-rich antimicrobial peptides, which predominate in the antimicrobial defense of other insects, had not been discovered in Lepidoptera. Here we report the isolation from the hemolymph of immune induced larvae of the lepidopteran Heliothis virescens of a cysteine-rich molecule with exclusive antifungal activity. We have fully characterized this antifungal molecule, which has significant homology with the insect defensins, a large family of antibacterial peptides directed against Gram-positive strains. Interestingly, the novel peptide shows also similarities with the antifungal peptide drosomycin from Drosophila. Thus, Lepidoptera appear to have built their humoral immune response against bacteria on cecropins and attacins. In addition, we report that Lepidoptera have conferred antifungal properties to the well conserved structure of antibacterial insect defensins through amino acid replacements.  (+info)

A novel lipoprotein from the hemolymph of the cochineal insect, Dactylopius confusus. (6/981)

A new type of insect lipoprotein was isolated from the hemolymph of the female cochineal insect Dactylopius confusus. The lipoprotein from the cochineal insect hemolymph was found to have a relative molecular mass of 450 000. It contains 48% lipid, mostly diacylglycerol, phospholipids and hydrocarbons. The protein moiety of the lipoprotein consists of two apoproteins of approximately 25 and 22 kDa, both of which are glycosylated. Both apolipoproteins are also found free in the hemolymph, unassociated with any lipid. Purified cochineal apolipoproteins can combine with Manduca sexta lipophorin, if injected together with adipokinetic hormone into M. sexta. This could indicate that the cochineal lipoprotein can function as a lipid shuttle similar to lipophorins of other insects, and that the cochineal insect apolipoproteins have an overall structure similar to insect apolipophorin-III.  (+info)

Molecular cloning and characterization of hemolymph 3-dehydroecdysone 3beta-reductase from the cotton leafworm, Spodoptera littoralis. A new member of the third superfamily of oxidoreductases. (7/981)

The primary product of the prothoracic glands of last instar larvae of Spodoptera littoralis is 3-dehydroecdysone (3DE). After secretion, 3DE is reduced to ecdysone by 3DE 3beta-reductase in the hemolymph. We have previously purified and characterized 3DE 3beta-reductase from the hemolymph of S. littoralis. In this study, cDNA clones encoding the enzyme were obtained by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, employing primers based on the amino acid sequences, in conjunction with 5'- and 3'-rapid amplification of cDNA ends. Multiple polyadenylation signals and AT-rich elements were found in the 3'-untranslated region, suggesting that this region may have a role in regulation of expression of the gene. Conceptual translation and amino acid sequence analysis suggest that 3DE 3beta-reductase from S. littoralis is a new member of the third superfamily of oxidoreductases. Northern analysis shows that 3DE 3beta-reductase mRNA transcripts are widely distributed, but are differentially expressed, in some tissues. The developmental profile of the mRNA revealed that the gene encoding 3DE 3beta-reductase is only transcribed in the second half of the last larval instar and that this fluctuation in expression accounts for the change in the enzyme activity during the instar. Southern analysis indicates that the 3DE 3beta-reductase is encoded by a single gene, which probably contains at least one intron.  (+info)

Control of oocyte maturation in sexually mature Drosophila females. (8/981)

In many sexually mature insects egg production and oviposition are tightly coupled to copulation. Sex-Peptide is a 36-amino-acid peptide synthesized in the accessory glands of Drosophila melanogaster males and transferred to the female during copulation. Sex-Peptide stimulates vitellogenic oocyte progression through a putative control point at about stage 9 of oogenesis. Here we show that application of the juvenile hormone analogue methoprene mimics the Sex-Peptide-mediated stimulation of vitellogenic oocyte progression in sexually mature virgin females. Apoptosis is induced by 20-hydroxyecdysone in nurse cells of stage 9 egg chambers at physiological concentrations (10(-7) M). 20-Hydroxyecdysone thus acts as an antagonist of early vitellogenic oocyte development. Simultaneous application of juvenile hormone analogue, however, protects early vitellogenic oocytes from 20-hydroxyecdysone-induced resorption. These results suggest that the balance of these hormones in the hemolymph regulates whether oocytes will progress through the control point at stage 9 or undergo apoptosis. These data are further supported by a molecular analysis of the regulation of yolk protein synthesis and uptake into the ovary by the two hormones. We conclude that juvenile hormone is a downstream component in the Sex-Peptide response cascade and acts by stimulating vitellogenic oocyte progression and inhibiting apoptosis. Since juvenile hormone analogue does not elicit increased oviposition and reduced receptivity, Sex-Peptide must have an additional, separate effect on these two postmating responses.  (+info)