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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Digestive proteinases of larvae of the corn earworm, Heliothis zea: characterization, distribution, and dietary relationships.

Proteinases and peptidases from the intestinal tract of fifth-instar larvae of Heliothis (= Helicoverpa) zea (Boddie) (Lepidoptera:Noctuidae) were characterized based on their substrate specificity, tissue of origin, and pH optimum. Activity corresponding to trypsin, chymotrypsin, carboxypeptidases A and B, and leucine aminopeptidase was detected in regurgitated fluids, midgut contents, and midgut wall. High levels of proteinase activity were detected in whole midgut homogenates, with much lower levels being observed in foregut and salivary gland homogenates. In addition, enzyme levels were determined from midgut lumen contents, midgut wall homogenates, and regurgitated fluids. Proteinase activities were highest in the regurgitated fluids and midgut lumen contents, with the exception of leucine aminopeptidase activity, which was found primarily in the midgut wall. Larvae fed their natural diet of soybean leaves had digestive proteinase levels that were similar to those of larvae fed artificial diet. No major differences in midgut proteinase activity were detected between larvae reared under axenic or xenic conditions, indicating that the larvae are capable of digesting proteins in the absence of gut microorganisms. The effect of pH on the activity of each proteinase was studied. The pH optima for the major proteinases were determined to be pH 8.0-8.5 for trypsin, when tosyl-L-arginine methyl ester was used as the substrate; and pH 7.5-8.0 for chymotrypsin, when benzoyl-L-tyrosine ethyl ester was used as the substrate.[1]


  1. Digestive proteinases of larvae of the corn earworm, Heliothis zea: characterization, distribution, and dietary relationships. Lenz, C.J., Kang, J., Rice, W.C., McIntosh, A.H., Chippendale, G.M., Schubert, K.R. Arch. Insect Biochem. Physiol. (1991) [Pubmed]
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