The Biochemical journal

The properties of a carboxylesterase from the peach-potato aphid, Myzus persicae (Sulz.), and its role in conferring insecticide resistance.

PMID 603629


Carboxylesterases from different strains of Myzus persicae were examined to try to understand their contribution to insecticide resistance. Preliminary evidence that they are involved comes from the good correlation between the degree of resistance and the carboxylesterase and paraoxon-degrading activity in aphid homogenates. Furthermore the carboxylesterase associated with resistance could not be separated from the insecticide-degrading enzyme by electrophoresis or ion-exchange chromatography. Homogenates of resistant aphids hydrolysed paraoxon 60 times faster than did those of susceptible aphids, yet the purified enzymes from both sources had identical catalytic-centre activities towards this substrate and also towards naphth-1-yl acetate, the latter being hydrolysed by both 2x10(6) times faster than paraoxon. These observations provide evidence that the enzyme from both sources is identical, and that one enzyme hydrolyses both substrates. This was confirmed by relating the rate of paraoxon hydrolysis to the rate at which paraoxon-inhibited carboxylesterase re-activated. Both had the same first-order rate constant (0.01min(-1)), showing clearly that the hydrolysis of both substrates is brought about by the same enzyme. Its K(m) for naphth-1-yl acetate was 0.131mm, and for paraoxon 75pm. The latter very small value could not be measured directly, but was calculated from substrate-competition studies coupled with measurements of re-activation of the diethyl phosphorylated enzyme. Since the purified enzymes from resistant and susceptible aphids had the same catalytic-centre activity, the 60-fold difference between strains must be caused by different amounts of the same enzyme resulting from mutations of the regulator gene(s) rather than of the structural gene.