Clark KD, Strand MR.
J Biol Chem. 2013 May 17;288(20):14476-87.
The phenoloxidase (PO) cascade regulates the melanization of blood (hemolymph) in insects and other arthropods. Most studies indicate that microbial elicitors activate the PO cascade, which results in processing of the zymogen PPO to PO. PO is then thought to oxidize tyrosine and o-diphenols to quinones, which leads to melanin. However, different lines of investigation raise questions as to whether these views are fully correct. Here we report that hemolymph from the silkmoth, Bombyx mori, rapidly melanizes after collection from a wound site. Prior studies indicated that in vitro activated PPO hydroxylates Tyr inefficiently. Measurement of in vivo substrate titers, however, suggested that Tyr was the only PO substrate initially present in B. mori plasma and that it is rapidly metabolized by PO. Fractionation of plasma by gel filtration chromatography followed by bioassays indicated that melanization activity was primarily associated with a high mass complex (~670 kDa) that contained PO. The prophenoloxidase-activating protease inhibitor Egf1.0 blocked formation of this complex and Tyr metabolism, but the addition of phenylthiourea to plasma before fractionation enhanced complex formation and Tyr metabolism. Mass spectrometry analysis indicated that the complex contained PO plus other proteins. Taken together, our results indicate that wounding alone activates the PO cascade in B. mori. They also suggest that complex formation is required for efficient use of Tyr as a substrate.http://www.jbc.org/content/288/20/14476.full.pdf
Department of Entomology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA.