The proteolytic enzyme, elastase, was characterized from salivary gland extracts from Zelus renardii (Heteroptera: Reduviidae), a predator of glassy-winged sharpshooters, western tarnished plant bugs, and a variety of other crop pests in the western US. The elastase appears to be an extremely prominent and active component in this insect’s maceration complex, allowing it to perform extremely efficient extra-oral digestion of its prey’s body contents. The characterization included the determination of molecular weight, isoelectric focusing and ion exchange characteristics, pH optimum, thermostability, and characterization of potential inhibitors. The results of this study indicate that this predator has evolved an extremely active elastase as part of its arsenal of extra-oral digestive enzymes, and that this enzyme, which has not been widely characterized in the Heteroptera, may have an important role in the evolution and ecology of predation.
Species 1: Heteroptera Reduviidae Zelus renardii (assassin bug)
Keywords: digestive enzymes, Predation
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