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Keywords:

  • Panstrongylus megistus;
  • Triatominae;
  • saliva;
  • serine protease;
  • fibrinolysis

Abstract

A cDNA encoding a trypsin-like protease from the salivary glands of the haematophagous reduviid Panstrongylus megistus was cloned and sequenced. The deduced protein sequence showed similarities to serine proteases of other hemipterans but with substitutions in the catalytic triad and the substrate binding site. The expression of the gene increased more than sixfold after feeding. Saliva showed the highest proteolytic activity at neutral to slightly basic pH. Substrate and inhibitor profiles and zymography indicated the presence of a trypsin-like protease with preference for Arg and Lys at P1. Using chromatography, a fibrinolytic enzyme was purified whose sequence was identified by tandem mass spectrometry as that encoded by the cDNA.