Evidence for serine protease inhibitor activity in the ovarian calyx fluid of the endoparasitoid Venturia canescens

J Insect Physiol. 2000 Sep 1;46(9):1275-1283. doi: 10.1016/S0022-1910(00)00048-2.


Endoparasitic wasps are able to develop inside permissive host insects due to their ability to overcome or evade the host's immune system. In the present study, we provide experimental evidence that ovarian calyx fluid of the ichneumonid endoparasitoid Venturia canescens has the potential to alter host haemocyte spreading and inhibit host haemolymph melanisation due to the presence of a putative serine protease inhibitor (serpin) activity. The existance of a serpin-like activity in the calyx fluid is also supported by experiments where the synthetic protease inhibitor p-APMSF had effects on cellular and cell-free immune reactions similar to ovarian calyx fluid. In addition, based on proteolytic digestion patterns of a wasp egg surface protein, we predict an Arg-specific trypsin-like protease activity in the host haemolymph which is possibly affected by calyx fluid components as well. Our data suggest that ovarian calyx fluid, deposited into the host together with the parasitoid egg, contains serpin activity which might transiently inactivate host defence reactions until other means of protection are established on the egg surface.