Article quick-view

New activity of yamamarin, an insect pentapeptide, on immune system of mealworm, Tenebrio molitor.


In insects, two types of the immune responses, cellular and humoral, constitute a defensive barrier against various parasites and pathogens. In response to pathogens, insects produce a wide range of immune agents that act on pathogens directly, such as cecropins or lysozyme, or indirectly by the stimulation of hemocyte migration or by increasing phenoloxidase (PO) activity. Recently, many new immunologically active substances from insects, such as peptides and polypeptides, have been identified. Nevertheless, in the most cases, their physiological functions are not fully known. One such substance is yamamarin - a pentapeptide isolated from the silk moth Antheraea yamamai. This yamamarin possesses strong antiproliferative properties and is probably involved in diapause regulation. Here, we examined the immunotropic activity of yamamarin by testing its impact on selected functions of the immune system in heterologous bioassays with the beetle Tenebrio molitor, commonly known as a stored grains pest. Our results indicate that the pentapeptide affects the activity of immune processes in the beetle. We show that yamamarin induces changes in both humoral and cellular responses. The yamamarin increases the activity of PO, as well as causes changes in the hemocyte cytoskeleton and stimulates phagocytic activity. We detected an increased number of apoptotic hemocytes, however after the yamamarin injection, no significant variations in the antibacterial activity in the hemolymph were observed. The obtained data suggest that yamamarin could be an important controller of the immune system in T. molitor.