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Protease activity in the larval stage of the parasitoid wasp, Eulophus pennicornis (Nees) (Hymenoptera : Eulophidae); effects of protease inhibitors

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Angharad MR GatehouseORCiD


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Hymenopteran, parasitoid wasps have good potential for use in integrated pest management (IPM); for example, the gregarious ectoparasitoid, Eulophus pennicornis, has been suggested as a biological control agent for larvae of the tomato moth (Lacanobia oleracea L.). However, the processes by which such parasitic larvae are able to utilize the nutritional resource provided by the host have been little studied. Protease activity was present in E. pennicornis larvae, and characterization of the enzymes responsible for proteolysis was performed using a range of synthetic substrates and specific inhibitors. Serine protease enzymes was both trypsin- and chymotrypsin-like activities;es were present. A range of plant-derived serine protease inhibitors was tested for activity against these enzymes. Certain inhibitors, notably soybean Kunitz inhibitor (SKTI), inhibited enyzme activity by > 80 % at < 10(-5) M. When SKTI was fed to L. oleracea larvae in an artificial diet, the inhibitor was subsequently detected within the larval haemolymph, showing that protease inhibitors in the host diet can be delivered to a parasitoid via the host haemolymph. If transgenic plants expressing foreign protease inhibitors for protection against insect pests are to form a component of IPM systems, possible adverse effects, whether direct or indirect, of transgene expression on parasitoids like E. pennicornis should be considered.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gatehouse AMR; Down RE; Ford L; Mosson HJ; Fitches E; Gatehouse JA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Parasitology

Year: 1999

Volume: 119

Issue: 2

Pages: 157-166

ISSN (print): 0031-1820

ISSN (electronic): 1469-8161

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0031182099004515


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