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ABSTRACT: The activity and composition of leafhopper saliva are important in interactions with the host rice plant, and it may play a physiological role in detoxifying toxic plant substances or ingesting sap. We have characterized diphenoloxidase in the salivary glands of Nephotettix cincticeps, its activity as a laccase, and its presence in the watery saliva with the objective of understanding its function in feeding on rice plants. Nonreducing SDS-PAGE of salivary gland homogenates with staining by the typical laccase substrate 2,2'-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS), hydroquinone or syringaldazine revealed a band at a molecular mass of approximately 85 kDa at pH 5. A band also appeared at a molecular mass of approximately 200 kDa when the gels were treated with dopamine, L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) or catechol at pH 7. The ABTS-oxidizing activity of the homogenates was drastically inhibited by N-hydroxyglycine, a specific inhibitor of laccase. However, the dopamine-oxidizing activity was not inhibited by N-hydroxyglycine, while it was inhibited by phenylthiourea (PTU). Thus, the salivary glands of N. cincticeps contain two types of phenoloxidases: a laccase (85 kDa) and a phenoloxidase (200 kDa). Laccase activity was detected in a holidic sucrose diet that was fed on for 16 h by two females, but only a trace of catechol oxidase activity was observed, suggesting that the laccase-type phenoloxidase was the predominant phenoloxidase secreted in watery saliva. The laccase exhibited an optimum pH of 4.75-5 in McIlvaine buffer and had a PI of 4.8. Enzyme activity was histochemically localized in V cells of the posterior lobe of the salivary glands. It remained at the same level throughout the adult stage from 2 days after eclosion. A possible function of N. cincticeps salivary laccase may be rapid oxidization of potentially toxic monolignols to nontoxic polymers during feeding on the rice plant. This is the first report proving that laccase occurs in the salivary glands of Hemiptera species and is secreted in the watery saliva.
Journal of Insect Physiology 01/2006; 51(12):1359-65. · 2.38 Impact Factor