Get access

Characterization of a cDNA encoding a putative chitinase from teratocytes of the endoparasitoid Toxoneuron nigriceps


*Correspondence: Fernando L. Cônsoli, Departamento de Entomologia, Fitopatologia e Zoologia Agrícola, Escola Superior de Agricultura ‘Luiz de Queiroz’, Universidade de São Paulo, Piracicaba, São Paulo 13418-900, Brazil. E-mail:


Females of insect endoparasitoids inject substances along with the egg at oviposition, which can regulate or induce changes in a number of host physiological processes to benefit the developing parasitoid. These changes can be caused by substances such as venoms, calyx fluids, or symbiotic-associated virus particles (polydnavirus), which are injected by females along with their eggs, and by substances secreted by parasitoid-derived tissues (teratocytes) or the developing parasitoid larvae. Teratocytes (dissociated cells of the serosal membrane after parasitoid eclosion) release substances that have roles (i) in parasitoid nutrition, (ii) in the digestion of host tissues, and (iii) in the regulation of host development. Teratocytes of Toxoneuron nigriceps (Viereck) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) have been implicated in the arrestment of the host development and in the regulation of circulating levels of host ecdysteroids. Here we describe the cDNA of a teratocyte-secreted chitinase and its expression during parasitoid development, and discuss its putative role in this host–parasitoid association.