Functional Mechanics of the Plant Defensive Griffonia simplicifolia Lectin II: Resistance to Proteolysis is Independent of Glycoconjugate Binding in the Insect Gut

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Griffonia simplicifolia lectin II (GSII) is a plant defensive protein that significantly delays development of the cowpea bruchid Callosobruchus maculatus (F.). Previous structure/function analysis by site-directed mutagenesis indicated that carbohydrate binding and resistance to insect gut proteolysis are required for the anti-insect activity of this lectin. However, whether there is a causal link between carbohydrate binding and resistance to insect metabolism remains unknown. Two proteases principally responsible for digestive proteolysis in third and fourth instar larvae of C. maculatus were purified by activated thiol sepharose chromatography and resolved as cathepsin L-like proteases, based on N-terminal amino acid sequence analysis. Digestion of bacterially expressed recombinant GSII (rGSII) and its mutant protein variants with the purified gut proteases indicates that carbohydrate binding, presumably to a target ligand in insect gut, and proteolytic resistance are independent properties of rGSII, and that both facilitate its efficacy as a plant defensive molecule.

Keywords: Callosobruchus maculatus; carbohydrate binding; cathepsin L; lectin; protease; protease inhibitor

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2001

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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