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, 1123 (2), 117-26

Insect Glycolipids


Insect Glycolipids

H Wiegandt. Biochim Biophys Acta.


Systematic elucidations of the chemical structures of glycosphingolipids from members of the phyla Arthropoda (class:insecta) of the Protostomia have shown several characteristic differences to those of the Deuterostomia, e.g., the Vertebrata. The ceramide constituents of the arthropod sphingolipids are C14:1- and C16:1-sphingoid and a majority of saturated C18-, C20-, C22- and C24-fatty acids. The GSL of the dipteran insects, L. caesar and C. vicina, consist of a series of homologous compounds of increasing sugar chain length. The carbohydrate moieties of these arthropod GSL are all derived from one unique neutral sugar core sequence, the arthro-series. The longest member known, an arthrononaosylceramide has the structure Gal beta,3GalNAc beta,3GlcNAc beta,3Gal beta,3GalNAc alpha,4GalNAc beta,4GlcNAc beta,3Man beta,4Glc beta Cer. Three pentahexosylceramides have been characterized that differ in their nonreducing terminus, i.e., IV4GalNAc alpha-Ap4Cer, IV3Gal alpha-Ap4Cer and IV3Gal beta-Ap4Cer. A large repertoire of structural variations of the arthro-series GSL is created by two types of derivatisations of the neutral carbohydrate core: addition of a zwitterionic 2-aminoethylphosphate group in phosphodiester linkage to the 6-position of the III-N-acetylglucosamine of the arthrotriaosylceramide core and/or substitution of a terminal galactose in 3-position by a glucuronic acid residue. The latter acidic arthro-series GSL were given the name arthrosides. Preliminary results have indicated that the blowfly GSL component distribution is strongly organ specific. GSL of various larval organs are distinguished by the length of their neutral core carbohydrate chain, as well as, the degree of PEtn- and GlcA-substitutions. Normal human sera contain antibodies that recognize epitopes on arthro-series GSL. Thereby, sites of the neutral carbohydrate chain, as well as, the zwitterionic and acidic epitopes are involved in the immune recognition. In a pathological condition, a M-protein of patients with autoallergic demyelinating peripheral neuropathy was found to react strongly with a glucuronic acid-containing molecular structure on arthrosides. Some indication was obtained for a possible functional role of glucuronic acid in dipteran-cell adhesion by using a mouse monoclonal antibody, mAb CAF-I. This antibody, directed against an arthroside epitope involving glucuronic acid, could induce an in vitro detachment of insect cells from one another or from their substratum. Obviously, present research on the GSL of insects is only at an early stage. Nevertheless, from the results available so far it was become increasingly apparent that a new chapter in our knowledge of GSL structures has been opened.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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