Metabolic and functional distinction of the Smicronyx sp. galls on Cuscuta campestris
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The weevil gall contains two distinct regions, differing in hydrolytic and antioxidant enzymes activity and profiles, which is also functionally distinct from the non-infected Cuscuta stems.
Weevils of the genus Smicronyx are gall-forming insects, widely distributed on parasitic flowering plants of the genus Cuscuta. Thus, they are considered epiparasites and potential method for biological control of their agriculturally harmful hosts. Although several reports on gall formation in Cuscuta spp. exist, the metabolic and functional changes, occurring in the gall, remained largely unknown. Smicronyx sp. galls, collected from a wild Cuscuta campestris population, were dissected into two distinct regions, inner and outer cortex, defined by the higher chlorophyll content of the inner cortex. Based on hydrolytic and antioxidant enzymes activity and isoenzymatic profiles as analyzed after electrophoretic separation, we suggested that the gall differs in its metabolic activity from the non-infected plant tissue. While the outer cortex serves as a region of nutrient storage and mobilization, the inner cortex is directly involved in larvae nutrition. The increase in metabolic activity resulted in significantly increased superoxide dismutase activity in the gall, while several other antioxidant enzymes diminished. The present research offers new insights into the functionally differing regions of Smicronyx galls and the metabolic changes, induced in C. campestris in result of the gall formation.
KeywordsAntioxidant enzymes Insect galls Parasitic plants Hydrolytic enzymes
The present study was financially supported by the National Science Fund of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science, Grant DNTS China 01/5 and the Inter-governmental S&T Cooperation Proposal between Bulgaria and China (No. 15-2).
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