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    In insects, cathepsin D is a lysosomal aspartic endopeptidase involved in several functions such as digestion, defense and reproduction. Jack Bean Urease (JBU) is the most abundant urease isoform obtained from the seeds of the plant Canavalia ensiformis. JBU is a multifunctional protein with entomotoxic effects unrelated to its catalytic activity, by mechanisms not yet fully understood. In this work, we employed nymphs of the hematophagous insect Dipetalogaster maxima as an experimental model in order to study the effects of JBU on D. maxima CatD (DmCatD). In insects without treatment, immunofluorescence assays revealed a conspicuous distribution pattern of DmCatD in the anterior and posterior midgut as well as in the fat body and hemocytes. Western blot assays showed that the active form of DmCatD was present in the fat body, the anterior and posterior midgut; whereas the proenzyme was visualized in hemocytes and hemolymph. The transcript of DmCatD and its enzymatic activity was detected in the anterior and posterior midgut as well as in fat body and hemocytes. JBU injections induced a significant increase of DmCatD activity in the posterior midgut (at 3 h post-injection) whereas in the hemolymph, such an effect was observed after 18 h. These changes were not correlated with modifications in DmCatD mRNA and protein levels or changes in the immunofluorescence pattern. In vitro experiments might suggest a direct effect of the toxin in DmCatD activity. Our findings indicated that the tissue-specific increment of cathepsin D activity is a novel effect of JBU in insects. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Natalia R Moyetta, Leonardo L Fruttero, Jimena Leyria, Fabian O Ramos, Célia R Carlini, Lilián Canavoso. The entomotoxin Jack Bean Urease changes cathepsin D activity in nymphs of the hematophagous insect Dipetalogaster maxima (Hemiptera: Reduviidae). Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part B, Biochemistry & molecular biology. 2021 Jan;251:110511

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    PMID: 33007467

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