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J Biol Chem. 1997 Sep 12;272(37):23440-7.

Isolation and identification of a plasmatocyte-spreading peptide from the hemolymph of the lepidopteran insect Pseudoplusia includens.

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Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Insect blood cells (hemocytes) play an essential role in defense against parasites and other pathogenic organisms that infect insects. A key class of hemocytes involved in insect cellular immunity is plasmatocytes. Here we describe the isolation and identification of a peptide from the moth Pseudoplusia includens that mediates the spreading of plasmatocytes to foreign surfaces. This peptide, designated plasmatocyte-spreading peptide (PSP1), contains 23 amino acid residues in the following sequence: H-ENFNGGCLAGYMRTADGRCKPTF-OH. In vitro assays using the synthetic peptide at concentrations >/=2 nM induced plasmatocytes from P. includens to spread on the surface of culture dishes. Injection of this peptide into P. includens larvae caused a transient depletion of plasmatocytes from circulation. Labeling studies indicated that this peptide induced 75% of plasmatocytes that were double-labeled by the monoclonal antibodies 49G3A3 and 43E9A8 to spread, whereas plasma induced significantly more plasmatocytes to spread. This suggests that only a certain subpopulation of plasmatocytes responds to the peptide and that other peptidyl factors mediate plasmatocyte adhesion responses.

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