TMOF-like factor controls the biosynthesis of serine proteases in the larval gut of Heliothis virescens

Arch Insect Biochem Physiol. 2001 Aug;47(4):169-80. doi: 10.1002/arch.1049.


Proteolytic enzyme biosynthesis in the midgut of the 4th instar larva of Heliothis virescens is cyclical. Protease activity increases immediately after the molt from the 3rd to the 4th instar larvae and declines just before the molt into the 5th instar. Characterization of the midgut proteases using soybean tryspin inhibitor (SBTI) Bowman Birk Inhibitor (BBI) 4-(2-aminoethyl)benzensulfonylfluoride (AEBSF) and N-tosyl-L-phenylalanine chloromethylketone (TPCK) indicate that protease activity is mostly trypsinlike (80%) with a small amount of chymotrypsinlike activity (20%). Injections of late 3rd and 4th instar larval hemolymph into H. virescens larvae inhibited tryspin biosynthesis in the larval midgut. Similar results were obtained when highly purified 4th instar larval hemolymph that crossreacted with Aea-TMOF antisurm using ELISA was injected into 2nd instar larvae. Injections of Aea-TMOF and its analogues into 2nd instar, and Aea-TMOF alone into 4th instar larvae stopped trypsin biosynthesis 24 and 48 h after the injections, respectively. Injections of 4th instar H. virescens larval hemolymph into female Aedes aegypti that took a blood meal stopped trypsin biosynthesis and egg development. These results show that the biosynthesis of trypsin-like enzymes in the midgut of a lepidoptera is modulated with a hemolymph circulating TMOF-like factor that is closely related to Aea-TMOF. Arch.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hemolymph / metabolism
  • Larva / enzymology
  • Moths / enzymology*
  • Moths / growth & development
  • Oligopeptides / metabolism*
  • Serine Endopeptidases / biosynthesis*
  • Serine Proteinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Weight Gain


  • Oligopeptides
  • Serine Proteinase Inhibitors
  • Peptide oostatic hormone
  • Serine Endopeptidases