Biochimica et biophysica acta

Effect of the urease-derived peptide Jaburetox on the central nervous system of Triatoma infestans (Insecta: Heteroptera).

PMID 25445710


Triatoma infestans is the main vector of Chagas'disease in Southern Cone countries. In triatomines, symptoms suggesting neurotoxicity were observed after treatment with Jaburetox (Jbtx), the entomotoxic peptide obtained from jackbean urease. Here, we study its effect in the central nervous system (CNS) of this species. Immunohistochemistry, Western blots, immunoprecipitation, two-dimensional electrophoresis, tandem mass spectrometry and enzymatic assays were performed. Anti-Jbtx antibody labeled somata of the antennal lobe only in Jbtx-treated insects. Western blot assays of nervous tissue using the same antibody reacted with a 61kDa protein band only in peptide-injected insects. Combination of immunoprecipitation, two-dimensional electrophoresis and tandem mass spectrometry identified UDP-N-acetylglucosamine pyrophosphorylase (UDP-GlcNAcP) as a molecular target for Jbtx. The activity of UDP-GlcNAcP increased significantly in the CNS of Jbtx-treated insects. The effect of Jbtx on the activity of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and NO production was investigated as NO is a recognized messenger molecule in the CNS of T. infestans. NOS activity and NO levels decreased significantly in CNS homogenates of Jbtx-treated insects. UDP-GlcNAcP is a molecular target of Jbtx. Jbtx impaired the activity of T. infestans nitrergic system, which may be related with early behavioral effects. We report that the CNS of Triatoma infestans is a target for the entomotoxic peptide and propose that a specific area of the brain is involved. Besides potentially providing tools for control strategies of Chagas' disease vectors our data may be relevant in various fields of research as insect physiology, neurobiology and protein function.