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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(10), 1747;

Phytocystatins: Defense Proteins against Phytophagous Insects and Acari

Centro de Biotecnologia y Genomica de Plantas, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (UPM), Instituto Nacional de Investigacion y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA), Campus Montegancedo, Pozuelo de Alarcon, Madrid 28223, Spain
Departamento de Biologia Medioambiental, Centro de Investigaciones Biologicas, CSIC, Ramiro de Maeztu, 9, Madrid 28040, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Massimo Maffei
Received: 27 July 2016 / Revised: 11 October 2016 / Accepted: 12 October 2016 / Published: 20 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Insect Interactions)
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This review deals with phytocystatins, focussing on their potential role as defence proteins against phytophagous arthropods. Information about the evolutionary, molecular and biochemical features and inhibitory properties of phytocystatins are presented. Cystatin ability to inhibit heterologous cysteine protease activities is commented on as well as some approaches of tailoring cystatin specificity to enhance their defence function towards pests. A general landscape on the digestive proteases of phytophagous insects and acari and the remarkable plasticity of their digestive physiology after feeding on cystatins are highlighted. Biotechnological approaches to produce recombinant cystatins to be added to artificial diets or to be sprayed as insecticide–acaricide compounds and the of use cystatins as transgenes are discussed. Multiple examples and applications are included to end with some conclusions and future perspectives. View Full-Text
Keywords: phytocystatin; insect; acari; digestive proteases; plant-phytophagous interactions phytocystatin; insect; acari; digestive proteases; plant-phytophagous interactions

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Martinez, M.; Santamaria, M.E.; Diaz-Mendoza, M.; Arnaiz, A.; Carrillo, L.; Ortego, F.; Diaz, I. Phytocystatins: Defense Proteins against Phytophagous Insects and Acari. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 1747.

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