Biochemical Characterization and Ultrastructural Localization of Two Extracellular Trypsins Produced by Metarhizium Anisopliae in Infected Insect Cuticles

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Applied and Environmental Microbiology





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Proteinase 2 (Pr2) is a fungal (Metarhizium anisopliae) serine proteinase which has a tryptic specificity for basic residues and which may be involved in entomopathogenicity. Analytical and preparative isoelectric focusing methods were used to separate two trypsin components, produced during growth on cockroach cuticle, with isoelectric points of 4.4 (molecular mass, 30 kDa) and 4.9 (27 kDa). The catalytic properties of the proteases were analyzed by their kinetic constants and by a combination of two-dimensional gelatin-sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and enzyme overlay membranes. Both Pr2 isoforms pref- erentially cleave at the carboxyl sides of positively charged amino acids, preferring arginine; the pI 4.4 Pr2 isoform also possessed significant activity against lysine. Compared with the pathogen’s subtilisin-like enzyme (Pr1), the pI 4.4 Pr2 isoform shows low activity against insoluble proteins in a host (Manduca sexta) cuticle. However, it degrades most cuticle proteins when they are solubilized, with high-molecular-weight basic pro- teins being preferentially hydrolyzed. Polyclonal antibodies raised against each Pr2 isoform were isotype specific. This allowed us to use ultrastructural immunocytochemistry to independently visualize each isoform during penetration of the host (M. sexta) cuticle. Both isoforms were secreted by infection structures (appres- soria) on the cuticle surface and by the penetrant hyphae within the cuticle. The extracellular sheath, which is commonly observed around fungal cells, often contained Pr2 molecules. Intracellular labelling was sparse.

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