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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2010 Sep;40(9):683-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2010.07.001. Epub 2010 Jul 17.

Manduca sexta serpin-5 regulates prophenoloxidase activation and the Toll signaling pathway by inhibiting hemolymph proteinase HP6.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA.


Insect immune responses include prophenoloxidase (proPO) activation and Toll pathway initiation, which are mediated by serine proteinase cascades and regulated by serpins. Manduca sexta hemolymph proteinase-6 (HP6) is a component of both pathways. It cleaves and activates proPO activating proteinase 1 (PAP1) and hemolymph proteinase-8 (HP8), which activates proSpätzle. Inhibitors of HP6 could have the capability of regulating both of these innate immune proteinase cascade pathways. Covalent complexes of HP6 with serpin-4 and serpin-5 were previously isolated from M. sexta plasma using immunoaffinity chromatography with serpin antibodies. We investigated the inhibition of purified, recombinant HP6 by serpin-4 and serpin-5. Both serpin-4 and serpin-5 formed SDS-stable complexes with HP6 in vitro, and they inhibited the activation of proHP8 and proPAP1. Serpin-5 inhibited HP6 more efficiently than did serpin-4. Injection of serpin-5 into larvae resulted in decreased bacteria-induced antimicrobial activity in hemolymph and reduced the bacteria-induced expression of attacin, cecropin and hemolin genes in fat body. Injection of serpin-4 had a weaker effect on antimicrobial peptide expression. These results indicate that serpin-5 may regulate the activity of HP6 to modulate proPO activation and antimicrobial peptide production during immune responses of M. sexta.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Serpin; Toll signaling pathway; clip domain proteinase; hemolymph; immunity; prophenoloxidase activation

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