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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2014 Jun;49:1-13. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2014.03.004. Epub 2014 Mar 21.

Identification and characterization of plant cell wall degrading enzymes from three glycoside hydrolase families in the cerambycid beetle Apriona japonica.

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Entomology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Hans-Knoell-Str. 8, 07745 Jena, Germany. Electronic address:
Entomology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Hans-Knoell-Str. 8, 07745 Jena, Germany.
Polytech'Nice-Sophia, Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis, 1645 Route des Lucioles, 06410 Biot, France.


Xylophagous insects have evolved to thrive in a highly challenging environment. For example, wood-boring beetles from the family Cerambycidae feed exclusively on woody tissues, and to efficiently access the nutrients present in this sub-optimal environment, they have to cope with the lignocellulose barrier. Whereas microbes of the insect's gut flora were hypothesized to be responsible for the degradation of lignin, the beetle itself depends heavily on the secretion of a range of enzymes, known as plant cell wall degrading enzymes (PCWDEs), to efficiently digest both hemicellulose and cellulose networks. Here we sequenced the larval gut transcriptome of the Mulberry longhorn beetle, Apriona japonica (Cerambycidae, Lamiinae), in order to investigate the arsenal of putative PCWDEs secreted by this species. We combined our transcriptome with all available sequencing data derived from other cerambycid beetles in order to analyze and get insight into the evolutionary history of the corresponding gene families. Finally, we heterologously expressed and functionally characterized the A. japonica PCWDEs we identified from the transcriptome. Together with a range of endo-β-1,4-glucanases, we describe here for the first time the presence in a species of Cerambycidae of (i) a xylanase member of the subfamily 2 of glycoside hydrolase family 5 (GH5 subfamily 2), as well as (ii) an exopolygalacturonase from family GH28. Our analyses greatly contribute to a better understanding of the digestion physiology of this important group of insects, many of which are major pests of forestry worldwide.


Cellulase; Cerambycidae; Plant cell wall degrading enzymes; Polygalacturonase; Transcriptome sequencing; Xylanase

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