Submitted to: American Chemical Society Symposium Series
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: October 30, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Insect control persists as a perplexing and costly problem for American agriculture. Worldwide economic pressures and competition, and increasing awareness of environmental concerns, demand that agricultural research explore and develop new pest control agents. Such agents need to be economically sound, retain and expand American agriculture's competitive edge, and be environmentally compatible. Endogenous proteolytic enzymes and their natural inhibitors are powerful molecules, produced by the insect itself, and absolutely essential for normal physiological functions. The information acquired from discovery, characterization, and manipulation of these natural products will be used by scientists to develop novel control agents meeting the qualifications outlined above. Leadership in this growing area of insect biochemical research is essential for continued leadership in the global agricultural market.
Technical Abstract: The field of proteolytic enzymes involved with post-embryonic development and metabolism in lepidopterans is discussed. Midgut digestive proteases represent the bulk of the work and information available. Also considered, however, are other key areas of proteolytic enzyme involvement including spermatogenesis, programmed cell death, phenoloxidase cascade, biochemical defenses against pathogens, neuropeptide signal attenuation and specific inhibitors of lepidopteran proteases including the serpins. Speculations on the exploitation of proteases and protease inhibitors in the control of lepidopteran pests are presented.