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PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e28456. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028456. Epub 2011 Dec 7.

Antibody labelling of resilin in energy stores for jumping in plant sucking insects.

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Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, United Kingdom.


The rubbery protein resilin appears to form an integral part of the energy storage structures that enable many insects to jump by using a catapult mechanism. In plant sucking bugs that jump (Hemiptera, Auchenorrhyncha), the energy generated by the slow contractions of huge thoracic jumping muscles is stored by bending composite bow-shaped parts of the internal thoracic skeleton. Sudden recoil of these bows powers the rapid and simultaneous movements of both hind legs that in turn propel a jump. Until now, identification of resilin at these storage sites has depended exclusively upon characteristics that may not be specific: its fluorescence when illuminated with specific wavelengths of ultraviolet (UV) light and extinction of that fluorescence at low pH. To consolidate identification we have labelled the cuticular structures involved with an antibody raised against a product of the Drosophila CG15920 gene. This encodes pro-resilin, the first exon of which was expressed in E. coli and used to raise the antibody. We show that in frozen sections from two species, the antibody labels precisely those parts of the metathoracic energy stores that fluoresce under UV illumination. The presence of resilin in these insects is thus now further supported by a molecular criterion that is immunohistochemically specific.

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