BACKGROUND: Trypsin modulating oostatic factor (TMOF), a decapeptide (Tyr-Asp-Pro-Ala-Pro6) isolated from the ovaries of the adult yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, regulates trypsin biosynthesis. TMOF per os is insecticidal to larval mosquitoes and a good model for the development of technologies to enhance protein insecticide activity by reduced catabolism and/or enhanced delivery to the target.
RESULTS: TFA-TMOF-K (TFA = trifluoro acetyl) allowed the specific conjugation of monodispersed, aliphatic polyethylene glycol (PEG) to the amino group of lysine-producing TMOF-K-methyl(ethyleneglycol)7-O-propionyl (TMOF-K-PEG7P). The addition of lysine to TMOF reduced its per os larval mosquitocidal activity relative to the parent TMOF, but conjugation of TMOF-K with methyl(ethyleneglycol)7-O-propionyl increased its toxicity 5.8- and 10.1-fold above that of TMOF and TMOF-K for Ae. aegypti. Enhanced insecticidal activity was also found for larval Ae. albopictus and for neonates of Heliothis virescens and Heliocoverpa zea. Only TMOF-K was found by MS/MS in the hemolymph for H. virescens fed on TMOF-K-PEG7P. No TMOF, TMOF-K or PEGylated TMOF-K was detected in the hemolymph after topical applications.
CONCLUSIONS: This research suggests that aliphatic PEG polymers can be used as a new method for increasing the activity of insecticidal proteins. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry