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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2011 Nov;41(11):881-90. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2011.08.002. Epub 2011 Aug 23.

Molecular and functional characterisation of resilin across three insect orders.

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CSIRO Livestock Industries, St Lucia, QLD 4067, Australia.


Resilin is an important elastomeric protein of insects, with roles in the storage and release of energy during a variety of different functional categories including flight and jumping. To date, resilin genes and protein function have been characterised only in a small number of flying insects, despite their importance in fleas and other jumping insects. Microscopy and immunostaining studies of resilin in flea demonstrate the presence of resilin pads in the pleural arch at the top of the hind legs, a region responsible for the flea's jumping ability. A degenerate primer approach was used to amplify resilin gene transcripts from total RNA isolated from flea (Ctenocephalides felis), buffalo fly (Haematobia irritans exigua) and dragonfly (Aeshna sp.) pharate adults, and full-length transcripts were successfully isolated. Two isoforms (A and B) were amplified from each of flea and buffalo fly, and isoform B only in dragonfly. Flea and buffalo fly isoform B transcripts were expressed in an Escherichia coli expression system, yielding soluble recombinant proteins Cf-resB and Hi-resB respectively. Protein structure and mechanical properties of each protein before and after crosslinking were assessed. This study shows that resilin gene and protein sequences are broadly conserved and that crosslinked recombinant resilin proteins share similar mechanical properties from flying to jumping insects. A combined use of degenerate primers and polyclonal sera will likely facilitate characterisation of resilin genes from other insect and invertebrate orders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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