alexa Regulation of chitin synthesis in the larval midgut of Manduca sexta.
Agri and Aquaculture

Agri and Aquaculture

Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development

Author(s): Zimoch L, Hogenkamp DG, Kramer KJ, Muthukrishnan S, Merzendorfer H

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Abstract In insects, chitin is not only synthesized by ectodermal cells that form chitinous cuticles, but also by endodermal cells of the midgut that secrete a chitinous peritrophic matrix. Using anti-chitin synthase (CHS) antibodies, we previously demonstrated that in the midgut of Manduca sexta, CHS is expressed by two cell types, tracheal cells forming a basal tracheal network and columnar cells forming the apical brush border [Zimoch and Merzendorfer, 2002, Cell Tissue Res. 308, 287-297]. Now, we show that two different genes, MsCHS1 and MsCHS2, encode CHSs of midgut tracheae and columnar cells, respectively. To investigate MsCHS2 expression and activity in the course of the larval development, we monitored chitin synthesis, enzyme levels as well as mRNA amounts. All of the tested parameters were significantly reduced during molting and in the wandering stage when compared to the values obtained from intermolt feeding larvae. By contrast, MsCHS1 appeared to be inversely regulated because its mRNA was detectable only during the molt at the time when tracheal growth occurs at the basal site of the midgut. To further examine midgut chitin synthesis, we measured enzyme activity in crude midgut extracts and different membrane fractions. When we analysed trypsin-mediated proteolytic activation, a phenomenon previously reported for insect and fungal systems, we recognized that midgut chitin synthesis was only activated in crude extracts, but not in the 12,000 g membrane fraction. However, proteolytic activation by trypsin in the 12,000 g membrane fraction could be reconstituted by re-adding a soluble fraction, indicating that limited proteolysis affects an unknown soluble factor, a process that in turn activates chitin synthesis. This article was published in Insect Biochem Mol Biol and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development

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