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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1997 Nov 26;240(3):657-63.

Presence of antibacterial peptides on the laid egg chorion of the medfly Ceratitis capitata.

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Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Siena, Italy.


Female reproductive accessory glands of the medfly Ceratitis capitata produce a secretion with antibacterial activity mainly ascribed to ceratotoxin peptides. To study whether the secretion from the accessory glands of the female protects the eggs and early larva from microbes, we examined whether ceratotoxins and other accessory gland components could be found on the egg surface. This was found to be the case; a water-soluble material with the same protein and antibacterial pattern as that of the accessory gland secretion was recovered from the laid egg surface and was observed as electrondense, clustered droplets over the outer exochorion. Such material showed the same electrophoretic pattern in both mated and virgin females. These findings indicate that the accessory gland secretion is spread, at oviposition, onto the eggs producing an antibacterial coating, irrespective of fertilization. This is the first report of antimicrobial components recovered from a material layered on insect laid eggs.

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