Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version

January 2002


Published in Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology 49 (2002), pp. 41–55. Copyright © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc. Used by permission.


Juvenile hormone esterase (JHE) from the serum of the cricket, Gryllus assimilis, was purified to homogeneity in a four-step procedure involving polyethylene glycol precipitation, hydrophobic interaction FPLC, and ion exchange FPLC. This procedure could be completed in 4 days and resulted in a greater than 900-fold purification with greater than 30% recovery. The purified enzyme exhibited a single band on a silver-stained SDS PAGE gel and had an apparent subunit molecular mass of 52 kDa. The native subunit molecular mass, determined by gel permeation FPLC, was 98 kDa, indicating that JHE from Gryllus assimilis is a dimer of two identical or similar subunits. The turnover number of the purified enzyme (1.41 s-1), KM(JH-III) (84 ± 12 nM) of nearly-purified enzyme, and kcat /KM (1.67 × 107 s-1 M-1) were similar to values reported for other well-established lepidopteran and dipteran JHEs. JHE from Gryllus assimilis was strongly inhibited by the JHE transition-state analogue OTFP (octylthio-1,1,1-trifluoro-2-propanone; I50 = 10-7 M) and by DFP (diisopropyl fluorophosphate; I50 = 10–7 M). The shapes of the inhibition profiles suggest the existence of multiple binding sites for these inhibitors or multiple JHEs that differ in inhibition. Isoelectric focusing separated the purified protein into 4 isoforms with pIs ranging from 4.7–4.9. N-terminal amino acid sequences (11–20 amino acids) of the isoforms differed from each other in 1–4 positions, suggesting that the isoforms are products of the same or similar genes. Homogeneously purified JHE hydrolyzed α-napthyl esters, did not exhibit any detectable acetylcholinesterase, acid phosphatase, or aminopeptidase activity, and exhibited only very weak alkaline phosphatase activity. JHE exhibited a low (11 μM) KM for long-chain α-naphthyl esters, indicating that JHE may have physiological roles other than the hydrolysis of JH-III. Purification of JHE represents a key step in our attempts to identify the molecular causes of genetically-based variation in JHE activity in G. assimilis. This represents the first homogeneous purification of JHE from a hemimetabolous insect.

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