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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2002 Nov;32(11):1429-38.

The major protein in the midgut of teneral Glossina morsitans morsitans is a molecular chaperone from the endosymbiotic bacterium Wigglesworthia glossinidia.

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Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Box 3055, Petch Building, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8W 3P6.


Molecules in the midgut of the tsetse fly (Diptera: Glossinidiae) are thought to play an important role in the life cycle of African trypanosomes by influencing their initial establishment in the midgut and subsequent differentiation events that ultimately affect parasite transmission. It is thus important to determine the molecular composition of the tsetse midgut to aid in understanding disease transmission by these medically important insect vectors. Here, we report that the most abundant protein in the midguts of teneral (unfed) Glossina morsitans morsitans is a 60 kDa molecular chaperone of bacterial origin. Two species of symbiotic bacteria reside in the tsetse midgut, Sodalis glossinidius and Wigglesworthia glossinidia. To determine the exact origin of the 60 kDa molecule, a protein microchemical approach involving two-dimensional (2-D) gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry was used. Peptide mass maps were compared to virtual peptide maps predicted for S. glossinidius and W. glossinidia 60 kDa chaperone sequences. Four signature peptides were identified, revealing that the source of the chaperone was W. glossinidia. Comparative 2-D gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting further revealed that this protein was localized to the bacteriome and not the distal portion of the tsetse midgut. The possible function of this highly abundant endosymbiont chaperone in the tsetse midgut is discussed.

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