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Keywords:

  • Rhodnius prolixus;
  • lipophorin;
  • thermal resistance

Lipophorin is a major lipoprotein that transports lipids in insects. In Rhodnius prolixus, it transports lipids from midgut and fat body to the oocytes. Analysis by thin-layer chromatography and densitometry identified the major lipid classes present in the lipoprotein as diacylglycerol, hydrocarbons, cholesterol, and phospholipids (PLs), mainly phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylcholine. The effect of preincubation at elevated temperatures on lipophorin capacity to deliver or receive lipids was studied. Transfer of PLs to the ovaries was only inhibited after preincubation of lipophorin at temperatures higher than 55°C. When it was pretreated at 75°C, maximal inhibition of phospholipid transfer was observed after 3-min heating and no difference was observed after longer times, up to 60 min. The same activity was also obtained when lipophorin was heated for 20 min at 75°C at protein concentrations from 0.2 to 10 mg/ml. After preincubation at 55°C, the same rate of lipophorin loading with PLs at the fat body was still present, and 30% of the activity was observed at 75°C. The effect of temperature on lipophorin was also analyzed by turbidity and intrinsic fluorescence determinations. Turbidity of a lipophorin solution started to increase after preincubations at temperatures higher than 65°C. Emission fluorescence spectra were obtained for lipophorin, and the spectral area decreased after preincubations at 85°C or above. These data indicated no difference in the spectral center of mass at any tested temperature. Altogether, these results demonstrate that lipophorin from R. prolixus is very resistant to high temperatures.