Pr-lynx1, a modulator of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the insect

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Abstract

Insect nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are targets for insecticides. Despite the importance of the nAChR as a major target for insecticide action, modulators of nAChRs in insects remain unidentified. Here we describe the cloning and identification of a nAChR modulator gene in an insect. This gene was isolated by searching the fireflyPyrocoelia rufacDNA library, and the gene itself encodes a protein 120 amino acids in length, namedPr-lynx1.Pr-lynx1shares all the features, including a cysteine-rich consensus motif and common gene structure, of theLy-6/neurotoxinsuperfamily. The recombinant Pr-lynx1, which is expressed as a 12-kDa polypeptide in baculovirus-infected insect Sf9 cells, is normally present at the cell surface as a GPI-anchored protein. Northern and Western blot analyses revealed that Pr-lynx1 is expressed in various tissues, such as the ganglion, brain, mandibular muscle, proventriculus, leg muscle, and epidermis. This expression pattern is similar to the distribution of nAChRs as assayed by α3 nAChR immunoreactivity. Co-expression of Pr-lynx1 inXenopusoocytes expressing α3β4 nAChRs results in an increase in acetylcholine-evoked macroscopic currents, indicating a functional role of Pr-lynx1 as a protein modulator for nAChRs. This study onPr-lynx1is the first report of a modulator of nAChRs in an insect species.

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