Capsicum annuum proteinase inhibitor ingestion negatively impacts the growth of sorghum pest Chilo partellus and promotes differential protease expression
Background: Chilo partellus is an important insect pest infesting sorghum and maize. The larvae internalize in the stem, rendering difficulties in pest management. We investigated the effects of Capsicum annuum proteinase inhibitors (CanPIs) on C. partellus larvae by in-vitro and in-vivo experiments. Methods: Recombinant CanPI-7 (with four-Inhibitory Repeat Domains, IRDs), -22 (two-IRDs) and insect proteinase activities were estimated by proteinase assays, dot blot assays and in gel activity assays. Feeding bioassays of lab reared C. partellus with CanPI-7 and -22 were performed. C. partellus proteinase gene expression was done by RT-PCR. In-silico structure prediction of proteinases and CanPI IRDs was carried out, their validation and molecular docking was done for estimating the interaction strength. Results: Larval proteinases of C. partellus showed higher activity at alkaline pH and expressed few proteinase isoforms. Both CanPIs showed strong inhibition of C. partellus larval proteinases. Feeding bioassays of C. partellus with CanPIs revealed a dose dependent retardation of larval growth, reduction of pupal mass and fecundity, while larval and pupal periods increased significantly. Ingestion of CanPIs resulted in differential upregulation of C. partellus proteinase isoforms, which were sensitive to CanPI-7 but were insensitive to CanPI- 22. In-silico interaction studies indicated the strong interaction of IRD-9 (of CanPI-22) with Chilo proteinases tested. Conclusions: Of the two PIs tested, CanPI-7 prevents induction of inhibitor insensitive proteinases in C. partellus so it can be explored for developing C. partellus tolerance in sorghum. General significance: Ingestion of CanPIs, effectively retards C. partellus growth; while differentially regulating the proteinases.
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