Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (1): 11-18, 2014 | 10.14411/eje.2014.002

Inhibitory effects of plant latex on trehalase activity and trehalase gene expression in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)

Nujira TATUN1, Boonguea VAJARASATHIRA2, Jatuporn TUNGJITWITAYAKUL1, Sho SAKURAI3
1 School of Science, University of Phayao, Phayao, Thailand 56000; e-mail: nujira.ta@up.ac.th
2 Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Kasetsart University, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
3 Division of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa 920-1192, Japan

Plant latex contains proteins and other components that defend plants against herbivorous insects. We determined the inhibitory activity of methanolic extracts of latex obtained from three species of plant: mulberry, Morus alba; jackfruit, Artocarpus heterophyllus; and weeping fig, Ficus benjamina, against trehalase in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. We also determined the changes that occurred throughout the life of the insect in the enzymatic activities of soluble and membrane-bound trehalase and the expression profiles of the genes encoding the two types of trehalase. Soluble trehalase activity was higher than membrane-bound trehalase activity in larvae and adults, whereas there was little difference in eggs, prepupae and pupae. The expression of the trehalases, TcTre-1 and TcTre-2, changed during insect development but did not coincide closely with changes in enzymatic activity, indicating that these changes did not necessarily depend on gene expression. All of three plant latices tested inhibited the activities of both the soluble and membrane-bound trehalase. At the gene expression level, these latices reduced the expression of TcTre-1 but not TcTre-2, indicating that the latices contain component(s) that selectively inhibit gene expression or at least differentially inhibit these two trehalase genes. The inhibition of trehalase activity resulted in a 140% increase in the concentration of trehalose in the beetle and a decrease in glucose concentration to 72% of the control. These findings show that the latices tested contain components that inhibit trehalase activity and TcTre-1 expression and thus, may contribute to the plants' defense against herbivorous insects.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae, Tribolium castaneum, trehalase, trehalase inhibitor, plant latex, trehalose

Received: June 6, 2013; Accepted: September 30, 2013; Published: January 9, 2014

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