Frédéric Gressent, Gabrielle Duport, Isabelle Rahioui, Yannick Pauchet, Patrice Bolland, Olivier Specty, Yvan Rahbe
Journal of Insect Science 7 (12), 1-10, (1 March 2007) https://doi.org/10.1673/031.007.1201
KEYWORDS: PA1b, binding site, toxin, knottin, cystine-knot peptide
The aim of this work was to investigate both the biological activity of an entomotoxin, the pea albumin 1b (PA1b), and the presence or absence of its binding site within an array of insect species. The data obtained showed that insect sensitivity was not related to its taxonomic position. Moreover, PA1b was not toxic to several tested microorganisms. However, the binding site was found to be conserved among very different insects, displaying similar thermodynamic constants regardless of the in vivo species sensitivity. The binding site alone was, therefore, not sufficient for toxicity. One exception was the pea weevil, Bruchus pisorum, which was the only tested species without any detectable binding activity. These findings indicate that the binding site probably has an important endogenous function in insects and that adaptation to pea seeds resulted in the elimination of the toxin binding activity in two independent insect lineages. Other mechanisms are likely to interact with the toxin effects, although they are still largely unknown, but there is no evidence of any specific degradation of PA1b in the midgut of insects insensitive to the toxin, such as Drosophila melanogaster or Mamestra brassicae.