Canadian Forest Service Publications

Characterization of antifreeze protein gene expression in summer spruce budworm larvae. 2006. Qin, W.; Tyshenko, M.G.; Doucet, D.; Walker, V.K. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 36: 210 - 218.

Year: 2006

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 28546

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Not surprisingly, in the spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana, antifreeze protein (AFP) gene expression is most abundant in the second instar, overwintering stage. However, low level RNA and protein expression was also found in the sixth instar larvae, a summer stage. In situ hybridization further confirmed the presence of AFP mRNA in sixth instar midgut tissues. Sequencing of cDNAs corresponding to “summer-expressed” transcripts revealed an isoform that was not apparent in a cDNA library made to second instar larvae. Although similar to AFP cDNAs obtained from overwintering larvae, this AFP-like isoform (CfAFP6) has two Cys substitutions. Since AFPs from this species fold into a ß-helix that is stabilized by disulfide bonds, it was of interest to determine if this summer-expressed isoform had AFP activity. No thermal hysteresis activity was found when CfAFP6 was cloned and expressed in E. coli, even after in vitro denaturation and refolding. As well, there was no activity detected when the sequence of a known, active isoform was changed to mimic the Cys substitutions in CfAFP6. Since CfAFP6 does not appear to contribute to freeze resistance, its apparent absence in the overwintering second instar should not in itself be considered curious.