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The melon fruit fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett), is a serious agricultural pest which has defied the various control measures employed against it. Protease inhibitors present in plants which have the potential to inhibit the growth and development of associated insect pests can be a possible alternative which can be manipulated for developing resistance in plants to the pest. In the present study, winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus) protease inhibitor isolated through affinity chromatography was explored for its potential to disrupt the development of melon fruit fly, B. cucurbitae. Different concentrations (12.5, 25, 50, 100, 200, and 400 µg ml−1) of the winged bean protease inhibitor (WBPI) were incorporated into the artificial diet of the second instar (64–72 h old) larvae of B. cucurbitae. The WBPI significantly delayed the larval, pupal, and total development period. The percentage pupation and adult emergence of the treated larvae was reduced as compared with control. The activities of major digestive enzymes (trypsin, chymotrypsin, leucine aminopeptidase, and elastase) decreased significantly in the larvae treated with different concentrations (50, 100, 200, and 400 µg ml−1) of WBPI. The findings reveal that the inhibitor holds considerable promise for the management of the melon fruit fly.
Gut maturation naturally accelerates at weaning in altricial mammalian species, such as the rat. Mimicking this, gut development can also be induced precociously, 3–4 d earlier than it would occur naturally, by enteral exposure to phytohaemagglutinin (PHA), or various proteases. We investigated the early effects of gut provocation on intestinal barrier and pancreatic functions, to get a better understanding of the mechanisms that initiate gut maturation. The effects of oral administration of protease (trypsin) or PHA to 14-d-old suckling rats were studied during 24 h in comparison with water-fed controls. Intestinal in vivo permeability was assessed by oral administration of different-sized marker molecules and measuring their passage into the blood or urine 3 h later. A period of 24 h following oral administration, both PHA and protease provocation stimulated small intestinal (SI) growth and pancreatic secretion, as indicated by decreased pancreatic trypsin and increased luminal enzyme content. Within 1 h of oral administration, both treatments prevented the absorption of macromolecules to blood that was observed in controls. PHA treatment hindered the passage of fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran (FD) 4 to blood, whereas protease treatment temporarily increased plasma levels of FD4, and the urine lactulose:mannitol ratio, indicating increased intestinal leakiness. Following protease treatment, fluorescence microscopy showed decreased vesicular uptake of FD70 in the proximal SI and increased epithelial fluorescence in the distal SI. In conclusion, PHA and protease differed in their early effects on the intestinal barrier; both exerted a blocking effect on epithelial endocytosis, whereas protease treatment alone temporarily increased epithelial leakiness, which seemed to be confined to the distal SI.
The aim was to identify optimized combinations of Streptomyces griseus protease concentration (CONC), incubation length (TIME), or amount of crude protein (CP) incubated in buffered enzymatic solution (CPW) to predict the in vitro rumen-undegraded feed CP (RUP) of 26 different feeds (soybean, rapeseed or sunflower meals, wheat bran, distillers dried grains with solubles, maize co-products and alfalfa hay). Different levels of CONC (0.08, 0.19, 0.44, 0.69 and 0.80 enzymatic units [U] of S. griseus protease/ml), TIME (6, 10, 18, 26 and 30 h) and CPW (69, 118, 235, 353 and 401 mg CP) were tested in agreement with a central composite design (CCD) with four replications of the central point to calculate second-order polynomial equations of main tested effects. The RUP was estimated by incubating samples in a buffered rumen fluid for 16 h or by adopting different enzymatic approaches as planned a priori in CCD. Differences between rumen and enzymatic RUP (ΔRUP) were estimated and regression terms of second-order polynomial equations for estimating ΔRUP were calculated between and within feeds. These equations were optimized using the non-linear generalized reduced gradient method with the objective set at ΔRUP equal to 0. The adoption of CCD permitted identification of optimized enzymatic combinations of CONC (0.12 U of S. griseus protease/ml), TIME (18 h) and CPW (from 233 to 458 mg CP for distillers dried grains with solubles and soft white wheat bran, respectively) to predict RUP accurately in all feed categories except for soybean meal, where optimized combinations were 0.47 U of S. griseus protease/ml, 18 h and 435 mg CP.
Refrigerated storage of raw milk is a prerequisite in dairy industry. However, temperature abused conditions in the farming and processing environments can significantly affect the microbiological quality of raw milk. Thus, the present study investigated the effect of different refrigeration conditions such as 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 °C on microbiological quality of raw milk from three different dairy farms with significantly different initial microbial counts. The bacterial counts (BC), protease activity (PA), proteolysis (PL) and microbial diversity in raw milk were determined during storage. The effect of combined heating (75 ± 0·5 °C for 15 s) and refrigeration on controlling those contaminating microorganisms was also investigated. Results of the present study indicated that all of the samples showed increasing BC, PA and PL as a function of temperature, time and initial BC with a significant increase in those criteria ≥6 °C. Similar trends in BC, PA and PL were observed during the extended storage of raw milk at 4 °C. Both PA and PL showed strong correlation with the psychrotrophic proteolytic count (PPrBC: at ≥4 °C) and thermoduric psychrotrophic count (TDPC: at ≥8 °C) compared to total plate count (TPC) and psychrotrophic bacterial count (PBC), that are often used as the industry standard. Significant increases in PA and PL were observed when PPrBC and TDPC reached 5 × 104 cfu/ml and 1 × 104 cfu/ml, and were defined as storage life for quality (SLQ), and storage life for safety (SLS) aspects, respectively. The storage conditions also significantly affected the microbial diversity, where Pseudomonas fluorescens and Bacillus cereus were found to be the most predominant isolates. However, deep cooling (2 °C) and combination of heating and refrigeration (≤4 °C) significantly extended the SLQ and SLs of raw milk.
Serine protease inhibitors (serpins) play essential physiological roles in a wide range of biological processes. Serpins are researched limited in Taenia solium, although some are considered to participate in host immune responses. Tsserpins were identified as typical serpins due to the primary structure of characteristic features: the serpin motif, serpin signature and reaction centre loop (RCL). RCLs of four serpin genes (TsB6, Ts4848, Ts12383 and Ts570) contained the conserved sequences of inhibitory serpins, which may involve in immune regulation. TsEP45 differed greatly from the patterns of representative serpins, suggesting that TsEP45 may be non-inhibitory. The bioinformatic analyses were supposed that Tsserpins might be a potential antigen for diagnosis. The five recombinant Tsserpin proteins were expressed and identified reacting with Cysticercus cellulosae-positive serum samples. The indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (iELISAs) based on Tsserpins were developed and validated, one of the five Tsserpins, TsEP45, showed excellent diagnostic results with 93·33% sensitivity and 94·12% specificity, respectively. This performance was in perfect accordance with the results of the bioinformatic analysis. This study provided a comprehensive demonstration of sequences and structural-based analysis of Tsserpins. The iELISAs based on five Tsserpins were developed and compared. TsEP45 was the potential species-specific antigen for developing iELISA to detect porcine cysticercosis.
The tomato leaf miner Tuta absoluta is one of the most devastating pests for tomato crops. Digestive proteases and β-glucosidase enzymes were investigated using general and specific substrates and inhibitors. Maximal β-glucosidase and proteolytic activities occurred at temperature and pH optima of 30 and 40°C, 5 and 10–11 unit of pH, respectively. Zymogram analysis showed the presence of distinguished β-glucosidase exhibiting a specific activity of about 183 ± 15 µmol min−1 mg−1. In vitro inhibition experiments suggested that serine proteases were the primary gut proteases. Gel based protease inhibition assays demonstrated that the 28 and 73 kDa proteases might be trypsin-like and chymotrypsin-like enzymes, respectively. Overall gut trypsin-like and chymotrypsin-like activities were evaluated to be about 27.2 ± 0.84 and 1.68 ± 0.03 µmol min−1 mg−1, respectively. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis showed that T. absoluta gut serine proteases are responsible for Bacillus thuringiensis Cry insecticidal proteins proteolysis. Additionally, bioassays showed that T. absoluta larvae development was more affected by the β-glucosidases inhibitor (D-glucono-δ-lactone) than the serine proteases inhibitor (soybean trypsin inhibitor). These results are of basic interest since they present interesting data of β-glucosidases and gut serine proteases of T. absoluta larvae.
In parasitic flatworms, acid endopeptidases are involved in crucial processes, including digestion, invasion, interactions with the host immune system, etc. In haematophagous monogeneans, however, no solid information has been available about the occurrence of these enzymes. Here we aimed to identify major cysteine and aspartic endopeptidase activities in Eudiplozoon nipponicum, an invasive haematophagous parasite of common carp. Employing biochemical, proteomic and molecular tools, we found that cysteine peptidase activities prevailed in soluble protein extracts and excretory/secretory products (ESP) of E. nipponicum; the major part was cathepsin L-like in nature supplemented with cathepsin B-like activity. Significant activity of the aspartic cathepsin D also occurred in soluble protein extracts. The degradation of haemoglobin in the presence of ESP and worm protein extracts was completely inhibited by a combination of cysteine and aspartic peptidase inhibitors, and diminished by particular cathepsin L, B and D inhibitors. Mass spectrometry revealed several tryptic peptides in ESP matching to two translated sequences of cathepsin L genes, which were amplified from cDNA of E. nipponicum and bioinformatically annotated. The dominance of cysteine peptidases of cathepsin L type in E. nipponicum resembles the situation in, e.g. fasciolid trematodes.
Exogenous enzymes are commonly added to poultry diets to improve nutrient utilisation, reduce excretion of nutrients into the environment as well as to improve zootechnical performance and reduce the cost of production. A series of four experiments were conducted in broilers to determine the efficacy and tolerance to an enzyme product (Vegpro™) containing protease and xylanase activities in wheat-soybean meal (SBM) diets fed to broilers from 1 to 39 or 42 d of age. Collectively, four experiments tested the following exogenous protease activity levels in wheat-SBM diet at levels of 0, 2,500, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 30,000, 40,000 or 100,000 HUT/kg of feed. Analysis of the four experiments together confirmed that Vegpro™ improved average daily gain and feed conversion ratio, especially in birds up to 21 d of age. Overall, inclusion of Vegpro™ to broiler diets at 10,000 HUT protease per kg of feed was shown to provide the maximum performance benefit (i.e. weight gain and feed conversion ratio). An exceptionally high protease activity (100,000 HUT/kg, ten times the manufacturer's recommended inclusion rate) was well tolerated and did not adversely affect the measured health and performance indicators from 1 to 42 d of age.
The nutrient availability in animal feeds can be improved by including exogenous enzymes to the feed, either by helping breakdown anti-nutritional factors or by increasing digestibility of complex ingredients thereby releasing more nutrients for utilisation. This process can improve the efficiency of meat and egg production, increase animal health, decrease feeding costs and reduce nutrients in animal waste. Proteases are protein-digesting enzymes that are used in animal nutrition to break down storage proteins in various plant materials and proteinaceous anti-nutrients in vegetable proteins. The analysis of exogenous proteases in feed additives and after they have been added to feed has proven technically challenging. Accordingly, the purpose of this work was to validate a method for the determination of the activity of protease in animal feed additives and supplemented animal feed. The approach used for the assay was to adapt an assay based on the hydrolysis of haemoglobin. The method validations examined a range of parameters including; linearity & range; uncertainty, sensitivity, accuracy and studies designed to highlight any possible matrix effects on various types of supplemented feed. The assay method described herein is convenient and inexpensive and could be applied to the analysis of proteases in animal feeds during quality control and in investigating fraudulent adulteration of feed to ensure the authenticity and traceability of the product.
Serine protease inhibitors (serpin) play essential roles in many organisms. Mammalian serpins regulate the blood coagulation, fibrinolysis, inflammation and complement activation pathways. In parasitic helminths, serpins are less well characterized, but may also be involved in evasion of the host immune response. In this study, a Schistosoma japonicum serpin (SjB10), containing a 1212 bp open reading frame (ORF), was cloned, expressed and functionally characterized. Sequence analysis, comparative modelling and structural-based alignment revealed that SjB10 contains the essential structural motifs and consensus secondary structures of inhibitory serpins. Transcriptional profiling demonstrated that SjB10 is expressed in adult males, schistosomula and eggs but particularly in the cercariae, suggesting a possible role in cercarial penetration of mammalian host skin. Recombinant SjB10 (rSjB10) inhibited pancreatic elastase (PE) in a dose-dependent manner. rSjB10 was recognized strongly by experimentally infected rat sera indicating that native SjB10 is released into host tissue and induces an immune response. By immunochemistry, SjB10 localized in the S. japonicum adult foregut and extra-embryonic layer of the egg. This study provides a comprehensive demonstration of sequence and structural-based analysis of a functional S. japonicum serpin. Furthermore, our findings suggest that SjB10 may be associated with important functional roles in S. japonicum particularly in host-parasite interactions.
Pest control strategies against Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) using protease inhibitors have relied on the gut protease profile of the later larval stages of the insect, with serine proteases being considered predominant. Little is known about the gut protease profile of early larval instars. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to detect the levels of gut protease activities in the third-, fourth-, fifth- and late fifth-instar larvae of H. armigera reared on an artificial diet using specific substrates and inhibitors. The analysis of the gut protease profiles of different instars revealed different levels of protease activities at different instar stages. Significant variations were also observed in the specific activities of trypsin, chymotrypsin, cysteine protease, carboxypeptidase-A and aminopeptidase-N across the instars. In general, the activities of the proteases increased from the third to the fifth instar and then decreased at the onset of pupation in the late fifth instar. Proteolytic activity was optimal at pH 12 for gut extracts from the third-, fourth- and fifth-instar larvae. Bioassays with phenylmethylsulphonyl fluoride (PMSF), a serine–cysteine protease inhibitor, revealed high mortality, and that with sodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA-Na), a metalloprotease inhibitor, also showed retarded larval growth. The inhibition induced by 0.05% PMSF and 0.05% EDTA-Na in combination was similar to that induced by 0.1% PMSF alone.
Many protease genes have previously been shown to be involved in parasitism and in the development of Steinernema carpocapsae, including a gene predicted to encode an aspartic protease, Sc-ASP110, which was cloned and was analysed in this study. A cDNA encoding Sc-ASP110 was cloned based on an expressed sequence tag (EST) fragment from our EST library. The full-length cDNA of Sc-ASP110 consists of 1112 nucleotides with a catalytic aspartic domain (aa18–337). The putative 341 amino acid residues have a calculated molecular mass of 37·1 kDa and a theoretical pI of 4·7. BLASTp analysis of the Sc-ASP110 amino acid sequence showed 45–77% amino acid sequence identity to parasitic and non-parasitic nematode aspartic proteases. An expression analysis showed that the sc-asp110 gene was upregulated during the late parasitic stage, L4, and 24 h after induction of in vitro nematodes. A sequence comparison revealed that Sc-ASP110 was a member of an aspartic protease family; additionally, a phylogenetic analysis indicated that Sc-ASP110 was clustered with the closely related nematode Steinernema feltiae. In situ hybridization showed that sc-asp110 was expressed in the body walls of dorsal cells. The upregulated Sc-ASP110 expression revealed that this protease could play a role in the late parasitic process. In this study, we have cloned and analysed the gene transcript of Sc-ASP110 in S. carpocapsae.
Enzyme supplementation of poultry diets is nutritionally, economically and environmentally justified. Enzymes are used to increase the energy value of feed ingredients and enhance the utilisation of protein, fats, carbohydrates and phytin phosphorus from plant materials, leading to a lower excretion rate of undigested nutrients into the environment and, hence, reduced environmental pollution. This is especially important regarding proteases, as the correct digestion of nitrogenous compounds in feed materials is essential for reducing N excretion – a major pollutant worldwide. Numerous studies have shown no adverse effects of enzyme supplementation in broiler diets on body weight, mortality, health, feed intake, FCR, nutrient digestibility, meat quality and production costs. However, there is still a large amount of uncertainty regarding the use of enzymes.
Cathepsin-D (Cat-D) is a major proteolytic enzyme in phagocytic cells. In the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), it is responsible for the daily degradation of photoreceptor outer segments (POSs) to maintain retinal homeostasis. Melanoregulin (MREG)-mediated loss of phagocytic capacity has been linked to diminished intracellular Cat-D activity. Here, we demonstrate that loss of MREG enhances the secretion of intermediate Cat-D (48 kDa), resulting in a net enhancement of extracellular Cat-D activity. These results suggest that MREG is required to maintain Cat-D homeostasis in the RPE and likely plays a protective role in retinal health. In this regard, in the Mregdsu/dsu mouse, we observe increased basal laminin. Loss of the Mregdsu allele is not lethal and therefore leads to slow age-dependent changes in the RPE. Thus, we propose that this model will allow us to study potential dysregulatory functions of Cat-D in retinal disease.
Binding of promastigotes to the sand fly midgut epithelium is regarded as an essential part of the Leishmania life cycle in the vector. Among Leishmania surface molecules putatively involved in attachment to the sand fly midgut, two GPI-anchored molecules are the most prominent: lipophosphoglycan (LPG) and promastigote surface protease gp63. In this work, we examined midgut attachment of Leishmania lines mutated in GPI-anchored molecules and compared results from 2 different techniques: in vivo development in sand flies and in vitro competitive binding assays using fluorescently labelled parasites. In combination with previous studies, our data provide additional support for (1) an LPG-independent parasite-binding mechanism of Leishmania major within the midgut of the permissive vector Phlebotomus perniciosus, and provide strong support for (2) the crucial role of L. major LPG in specific vector Phlebotomus papatasi, and (3) a role for Leishmania amazonensis gp63 in Lutzomyia longipalpis midgut binding. Moreover, our results suggest a critical role for GPI-anchored proteins and gp63 in Leishmania mexicana attachment to L. longipalpis midguts, as the wild type (WT) line accounted for over 99% of bound parasites.
A meta-analysis of the effect of a mono-component bacterial protease (RONOZYME® ProAct) on the apparent ileal digestibility of amino acids in poultry and swine diets was conducted to examine functional patterns, mean effects and variability of response. A total of 25 independently-conducted experiments were included comprising a total of 804 datapoints. The mean response to protease was +3.74% (SE 1.1%, P < 0.001) and this ranged from +5.6% for Thr (SE 1.2%, P < 0.001) to +2.7% for Glu (SE 1.2%, P < 0.05). For the most economically critical amino acids (Lys, Cys, Met and Thr) the mean response was 4.5%. The effect of protease was independent of geography, animal species and diet composition (P > 0.05). However, the inherent digestibility of amino acids in the control diet as a single explanatory term explained around 47% of the variance (P < 0.001) in effect. When the inherent digestibility of amino acids in the control diet was less than 70% protease addition improved amino acid digestibility in 90% of cases with a mean improvement of around 10%. When the inherent digestibility of amino acids in the control diet was more than 90% there was a protease-mediated improvement in digestibility in only 60% of cases with a mean improvement of around 2%. It can be concluded that the inherent digestibility of amino acids in the diet without protease supplementation is the primary explanatory term for the efficacy of this exogenous protease, demonstrating that it is highly effective in improving the digestibility of amino acids across a wide range of feed ingredients. Benchmarking diets or feed ingredients as to their relative nutritional value would enhance the ability of nutritionists to determine the likely return on investment on use of bacterial proteases in their operation.
Salt influences protein stability through electrostatic mechanisms as well as through nonpolar Hofmeister effects. In the present work, a continuum solvation based model is developed to explore the impact of salt on protein stability. This model relies on a traditional Poisson-Boltzmann (PB) term to describe the polar or electrostatic effects of salt, and a surface area dependent term containing a salt concentration dependent microscopic surface tension function to capture the non-polar Hofmeister effects. The model is first validated against a series of cold-shock protein variants whose salt-dependent protein fold stability profiles have been previously determined experimentally. The approach is then applied to HIV-1 protease in order to explain an experimentally observed enhancement in stability and activity at high (1M) NaCl concentration. The inclusion of the salt-dependent non-polar term brings the model into quantitative agreement with experiment, and provides the basis for further studies into the impact of ionic strength on protein structure, function, and evolution.
Bowman–Birk inhibitors (BBI) from legumes, such as soyabean, pea, lentil and chickpea, are naturally occurring plant protease inhibitors which have potential health-promoting properties within the mammalian gastrointestinal tract. BBI can survive both acidic conditions and the action of proteolytic enzymes within the stomach and small intestine, permitting significant amounts to reach the large intestine in active form to exert their reported anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. In a previous study, we reported the ability of a recombinant form of TI1B (rTI1B), representing a major BBI isoinhibitor from pea, to influence negatively the growth of human colorectal adenocarcinoma HT29 cells in vitro. In the present study, we investigate if this effect is related directly to the intrinsic ability of BBI to inhibit serine proteases. rTI1B and a novel engineered mutant, having amino acid substitutions at the P1 positions in the two inhibitory domains, were expressed in the yeast Pichia pastoris. The rTI1B proved to be active against trypsin and chymotrypsin, showing Ki values at nanomolar concentrations, whereas the related mutant protein was inactive against both serine proteases. The proliferation of HT29 colon cancer cells was significantly affected by rTI1B in a dose-dependent manner (IC50 = 31 (sd 7) μm), whereas the inactive mutant did not show any significant effect on colon cancer cell growth. In addition, neither recombinant protein affected the growth of non-malignant colonic fibroblast CCD-18Co cells. These findings suggest that serine proteases should be considered as important targets in investigating the potential chemopreventive role of BBI during the early stages of colorectal carcinogenesis.
Objective: Causative relations between infections and psychosis, especially schizophrenia, have been speculated for more than a century, suggesting a hypothesis of association between schizophrenia and hereditary immune defects. Mannan-binding lectin (MBL) is a pattern-recognition molecule of the innate immune defence. MBL deficiency is the most common hereditary defect in the immune system and may predispose to infection and autoimmunity. Mannan-binding lectin serine protease-2 (MASP-2) is an MBL-associated serine protease mediating complement activation upon binding of MBL/MASP to microorganisms. The objective was to investigate if schizophrenia is associated with serum concentrations of MBL and MASP-2 or with genetic variants of the genes MBL2 and MASP2 encoding these proteins.
Methods: The sample consisted of 100 patients with schizophrenia and 350 controls. Concentrations of MBL and MASP-2 in serum were measured and seven single nucleotide polymorphisms known to influence these concentrations were genotyped.
Results: Significant association of disease with genetic markers was found in MBL2 but not in MASP2. Significant difference in MBL serum concentration was found between patients and controls when adjusting for MBL2 haplotypes. For concentrations of MASP-2, a significant interaction effect between a MASP2 variant and disease was found. Interestingly, MASP-2 levels also depended significantly on variants in MBL2 exon 1.
Conclusion: This study supports previous studies showing increased complement activity in patients with schizophrenia, indicates aetiological heterogeneity among patients and underlines that multilocus genotypes have to be considered when investigating effects on MBL level. It appears that inclusion of additional components from the system of complement activation is warranted.
It has recently been discovered that lichens contain a serine protease capable of degrading the pathogenic prion protein, the etiological agent of prion diseases such as sheep scrapie and cervid chronic wasting disease. Limited methods are available to degrade or inactivate prion disease agents, especially in the environment, and lichens or their serine protease could prove important for management of these diseases. Scant information is available regarding the presence or absence of the protease responsible for degrading prion protein (PrP) in lichen species and, in this study, we tested the hypothesis that PrP degradation activity in lichens is phylogenetically-based by testing 44 species of Cladonia lichens, a genus for which a significant portion of the phylogeny is well established. We categorized PrP degradation activity among the 44 species (high, moderate, low or none) and found that activity in Cladonia species did not correspond with phylogenetic position of the species. Degradation of PrP did correspond, however, with three classical taxonomic characters within the genus: species with brown apothecia, no usnic acid, and the presence of a cortex. Of the 44 species studied, 18 (41%) had either high or moderate PrP degradation activity, suggesting the protease may be frequent in this genus of lichens.