Clitocypin, a fungal cysteine protease inhibitor, exerts its insecticidal effect on Colorado potato beetle larvae by inhibiting their digestive cysteine proteases.Pestic Biochem Physiol. 2015 Jul; 122:59-66.PB
Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say, CPB) is a major potato pest that adapts readily to insecticides. Several types of protease inhibitors have previously been investigated as potential control agents, but with limited success. Recently, cysteine protease inhibitors from parasol mushroom, the macrocypins, were reported to inhibit growth of CPB larvae. To further investigate the insecticidal potential and mode of action of cysteine protease inhibitors of fungal origin, clitocypin, a cysteine protease inhibitor from clouded agaric (Clitocybe nebularis), was evaluated for its lethal effects on CPB larvae. Clitocypin isolated from fruiting bodies and recombinant clitocypin produced in Escherichia coli slowed growth and reduced survival of CPB larvae in a concentration dependent manner. Clitocypin was also expressed by transgenic potato, but only at low levels. Nevertheless, it reduced larval weight gain and delayed development. We have additionally shown that younger larvae are more susceptible to the action of clitocypin. The inhibition of digestive cysteine proteases, intestains, by clitocypin was shown to be the underlying mode of action. Protease inhibitors from mushrooms are confirmed as promising candidates for biopesticides.