Molecular Cloning and Characterization of the First Caspase in the Striped Stem Borer, Chilo suppressalis
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Apoptosis is executed through the activity of the caspases that are aspartyl-specific proteases. In this study, we isolated the caspase gene (Cscaspase-1) of Chilo suppressalis (one of the leading pests responsible for destruction of rice crops). It possesses the open reading frame (ORF) of 295 amino acids including prodomain, large subunit and small subunits, and two cleavage sites (Asp23 and Asp194) were found to be located among them. In addition to these profiles, Cscaspase-1 contains two active sites (His134 and Cys176). Genomic analysis demonstrated there was no intron in the genome of Cscaspase-1. The Cscaspase-1 transcripts were found in all tissues of the fifth instar larvae, and higher levels were found in the midgut, hindgut and Malpighian tubules. Examination of Cscaspase-1 expression in different developmental stages indicated low constitutive levels in the eggs and early larvae stages, and higher abundances were exhibited in the last larvae and pupae stages. The relative mRNA levels of Cscaspase-1 were induced by heat and cold temperatures. For example, the highest increase of Cscaspase-1 transcription was at −3 °C and 36 °C respectively. In a word, Cscaspase-1 plays a role of effector in the apoptosis of C. suppressalis. It also correlates with development, metamorphosis and thermotolerance of C. suppreassalis.