Identification of a selenium-dependent glutathione peroxidase in the blood-sucking insect Rhodnius prolixus

TitleIdentification of a selenium-dependent glutathione peroxidase in the blood-sucking insect Rhodnius prolixus
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsDias FA, Gandara ACP, Perdomo HD, Goncalves RS, Oliveira CR, Oliveira RLL, Citelli M, Polycarpo CR, Santesmasses D, Mariotti M, Guigó R, Braz GR, Missirlis F, Oliveira PL
JournalInsect biochemistry and molecular biology
Date PublishedSep

The selenium-dependent glutathione peroxidase (SeGPx) is a well-studied enzyme that detoxifies organic and hydrogen peroxides and provides cells or extracellular fluids with a key antioxidant function. The presence of a SeGPx has not been unequivocally demonstrated in insects. In the present work, we identified the gene and studied the function of a Rhodnius prolixus SeGPx (RpSeGPx). The RpSeGPx mRNA presents the UGA codon that encodes the active site selenocysteine (Sec) and a corresponding Sec insertion sequence (SECIS) in the 3' UTR region. The encoded protein includes a signal peptide, which is consistent with the high levels of GPx enzymatic activity in the insect's hemolymph, and clusters phylogenetically with the extracellular mammalian GPx03. This result contrasts with all other known insect GPxs, which use a cysteine residue instead of Sec and cluster with the mammalian phospholipid hydroperoxide GPx04. RpSeGPx is widely expressed in insect organs, with higher expression levels in the fat body. RNA interference (RNAi) was used to reduce RpSeGPx gene expression and GPx activity in the hemolymph. Adult females were apparently unaffected by RpSeGPx RNAi, whereas first instar nymphs showed a three-day delay in ecdysis. Silencing of RpSeGPx did not alter the gene expression of the antioxidant enzymes catalase, xanthine dehydrogenase and a cysteine-GPx, but it reduced the levels of the dual oxidase and NADPH oxidase 5 transcripts that encode for enzymes releasing extracellular hydrogen peroxide/superoxide. Collectively, our data suggest that RpSeGPx functions in the regulation of extracellular (hemolymph) redox homeostasis of R. prolixus.