Intestinal proteolytic profile changes during larval development of Anticarsia gemmatalis caterpillars.Arch Insect Biochem Physiol. 2020 Jan; 103(1):e21631.AI
Soybean is one of most consumed and produced grains in the world, and Anticarsia gemmatalis is a pest that causes great damage to this crop due to severe defoliation during its larval phase. Plants have mechanisms that lead to the inhibition of proteases in the intestine of these herbivores, hampering their development. Understanding this complex protease inhibitor is important for pest control. The objective of this study was to evaluate the enzymatic profiles of the intestinal proteases of the soybean caterpillar at different instars. For this, the proteolytic profile of the gut in the third, fourth, and fifth instars were analyzed. Irreversible inhibitors of proteases were separately incubated with A. gemmatalis enzyme extracts at the third, fourth, and fifth instar to assess the contribution of these proteases to total proteolytic activity. The enzymatic extracts were also evaluated with specific substrates to confirm changes in the specific activities of trypsin-like, chymotrypsin-like, and cysteine proteases at different instars. The results showed that the protease profile of A. gemmatalis gut changes throughout its larval development. The activity of cysteine proteases was more intense in the first instar. On the contrary, the serine proteases showed major activities in the late stages of the larval phase. Zymogram analysis and protein identification by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry indicated serine protease as the main protease class expressed in the fifth instar. These results may shift the focus from the rational development of the protease inhibitor to A. gemmatalis and other Lepidoptera, as the expression of major proteases is not constant.