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Molecular and biochemical characterization of the bed bug salivary gland cholinesterase as an acetylcholine-sequestering enzyme

Kim, Ju Hyeon, Hwang, Chae Eun, Yoon, Kyungjae Andrew, Seong, Keon Mook, Lee, Jonghwa, Kim, Jeong Han, Lee, Si Hyeock
Insect biochemistry and molecular biology 2018 v.102 pp. 52-58
Cimex lectularius, Western blotting, acetylcholine, antibodies, blood vessels, cholinesterase, disulfide bonds, epithelial cells, hydrolysis, immunohistochemistry, kinetics, pain, proboscis, salivary glands, secretion, tandem mass spectrometry, tissue distribution, ultra-performance liquid chromatography
The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, possesses a cholinesterase expressed exclusively in the salivary gland (ClSChE). In this study, we investigated the molecular forms, tissue distribution patterns and biochemical properties of ClSChE and showed that ClSChE exists as a soluble monomeric form or a soluble dimeric form connected by a disulfide bridge. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed that ClSChE was expressed in the epithelial cells of both the salivary gland and the duct. In addition, the secretion of monomeric ClSChE through the proboscis during feeding was confirmed by western blotting using a ClSChE-specific antibody. To predict the role of ClSChE injected into the tissue of an animal host, we analyzed the extent of hydrolysis of acetylcholine (ACh) by ClSChE by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. ClSChE binding to ACh was not clearly resolved in the binding assay format used in this study, probably due to the weak but detectable ACh-hydrolytic activity of ClSChE. Nevertheless, kinetic analysis revealed that ClSChE possesses extremely low Km (high affinity to ACh) and Vmax values. These findings suggest that ClSChE functions virtually as an ACh-sequestering protein by having a very strong affinity to ACh but an extremely long turnover time. Given that ACh regulates a wide variety of host physiologies, we discuss the tentative roles of ClSChE in blood vessel constriction and itch/pain regulation in the host.