Characterisation of proteolytic enzymes of Eurygaster integriceps Put. (Sunn bug), a major pest of cereals

Eurygaster integriceps (Sunn pest or Sunn bug) is one of the most significant pests of wheat and is responsible for substantial losses in yield and quality of wheat grain in Europe and Asia. Sunn pest salivary gland-derived proteases and other hydrolases damage grain proteins and starch. Characterisation of protease activities from both Sunn pest salivary glands and Sunn pest-damaged wheat grains revealed a broad range of activities in terms of substrate specificity and diversity of isoelectric point. Neutral and alkaline proteases present in Sunn pest-damaged grains were shown to be capable of hydrolyzing gluten proteins, whilst some proteases were also shown to be active against gelatin. The neutral serine proteases present play the dominant role in degradation of gluten quality. The sensitivity of some proteases to proteinaceous and non-proteinaceous serine proteinase inhibitors was shown, including that of a recombinantly expressed protease. It was found that proteases isolated from Sunn pest salivary glands could be activated by trypsin indicating that they are present as zymogens in vivo. Analysis of individual Sunn pest-damaged grains showed great diversity in the proteases present. This work highlights the challenges of developing proteinase inhibitors to manage Sunn pest damage.

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DOI 10.1016/j.aspen.2019.02.001
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