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Open AccessArticle

Identification and Functional Characterization of a Novel Insecticidal Decapeptide from the Myrmicine Ant Manica rubida

1
Branch for Bioresources, Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME), Winchesterstrasse 2, 35394 Giessen, Germany
2
Institute for Insect Biotechnology, Justus Liebig University of Giessen, Heinrich-Buff- Ring 26-32, 35392 Giessen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2019, 11(10), 562; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11100562
Received: 26 August 2019 / Revised: 16 September 2019 / Accepted: 23 September 2019 / Published: 25 September 2019
Ant venoms contain many small, linear peptides, an untapped source of bioactive peptide toxins. The control of agricultural insect pests currently depends primarily on chemical insecticides, but their intensive use damages the environment and human health, and encourages the emergence of resistant pest populations. This has promoted interest in animal venoms as a source of alternative, environmentally-friendly bio-insecticides. We tested the crude venom of the predatory ant, Manica rubida, and observed severe fitness costs in the parthenogenetic pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum), a common agricultural pest. Therefore, we explored the M. rubida venom peptidome and identified a novel decapeptide U-MYRTX-MANr1 (NH2-IDPKVLESLV-CONH2) using a combination of Edman degradation and de novo peptide sequencing. Although this myrmicitoxin was inactive against bacteria and fungi, it reduced aphid survival and reproduction. Furthermore, both crude venom and U-MYRTX-MANr1 reversibly paralyzed injected aphids and induced a loss of body fluids. Components of M. rubida venom may act on various biological targets including ion channels and hemolymph coagulation proteins, as previously shown for other ant venom toxins. The remarkable insecticidal activity of M. rubida venom suggests it may be a promising source of additional bio-insecticide leads. View Full-Text
Keywords: mass spectrometry; LC-MS; Formicidae; Myrmicinae; Myrmica rubra; venom gland; bioinsecticide; antimicrobial peptide; aphids; Acyrthosiphon pisum mass spectrometry; LC-MS; Formicidae; Myrmicinae; Myrmica rubra; venom gland; bioinsecticide; antimicrobial peptide; aphids; Acyrthosiphon pisum
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MDPI and ACS Style

Heep, J.; Skaljac, M.; Grotmann, J.; Kessel, T.; Seip, M.; Schmidtberg, H.; Vilcinskas, A. Identification and Functional Characterization of a Novel Insecticidal Decapeptide from the Myrmicine Ant Manica rubida. Toxins 2019, 11, 562.

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