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Inorganic polyphosphate inhibits an aspartic protease-like activity in the eggs of Rhodnius prolixus (Stahl) and impairs yolk mobilization in vitro.

Laboratório de Entomologia Médica, Programa de Biologia Celular e Parasitologia, Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Cidade Universitária, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
Journal of Cellular Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.87). 12/2009; 222(3):606-11. DOI: 10.1002/jcp.21975
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Inorganic polyphosphate (poly P) is a polymer of phosphate residues that has been shown to act as modulator of some vertebrate cathepsins. In the egg yolk granules of Rhodnius prolixus, a cathepsin D is the main protease involved in yolk mobilization and is dependent on an activation by acid phosphatases. In this study, we showed a possible role of poly P stored inside yolk granules on the inhibition of cathepsin D and arrest of yolk mobilization during early embryogenesis of these insects. Enzymatic assays detected poly P stores inside the eggs of R. prolixus. We observed that micromolar poly P concentrations inhibited cathepsin D proteolytic activity using both synthetic peptides and homogenates of egg yolk as substrates. Poly P was a substrate for Rhodnius acid phosphatase and also a strong competitive inhibitor of a pNPPase activity. Fusion events have been suggested as important steps towards acid phosphatase transport to yolk granules. We observed that poly P levels in those compartments were reduced after in vitro fusion assays and that the remaining poly P did not have the same cathepsin D inhibition activity after fusion. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that poly P is a cathepsin D inhibitor and a substrate for acid phosphatase inside yolk granules. It is possible that, once activated, acid phosphatase might degrade poly P, allowing cathepsin D to initiate yolk proteolysis. We, therefore, suggest that degradation of poly P might represent a new step toward yolk mobilization during embryogenesis of R. prolixus.

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