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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 1993 Jul;23(5):607-14.

A cuticle-degrading proteinase from the moulting fluid of the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, University of Bath, England.


Moulting fluid of pharate adult tobacco hornworm moths, Manduca sexta, contains a novel cuticle-degrading proteinase, designated as MFP-1. The enzyme has been purified using heparin affinity chromatography and partially characterized. Before purification MFP-1 is associated with a large complex having an apparent native molecular mass > 669 kDa. After purification MFP-1 has a molecular mass of 41 kDa. The pI of the enzyme is 5.54. MFP-1 can be classified as generally trypsin-like on the basis of its substrate specificity and inhibition by soybean trypsin inhibitor. The enzyme's preferred substrate, Tos-Gly-Pro-Arg-pNA, its inhibition by hirudin, and its affinity for heparin, all indicate that MFP-1 has some characteristics in common with the vertebrate blood-clotting enzyme thrombin. MFP-1 is probably a serine protease, since it is inhibited by both DFP and PMSF (specific inhibitors of serine proteinases). However, the enzyme was also inhibited by a number of agents that affect cysteine proteinases. Purified MFP-1 degrades Manduca cuticle in vitro. We suggest that the enzyme may act as the first step in the degradation of the cuticle during the moulting process.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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