fulltext_7 - Exp Appl Acarol (2008) 44:199212 DOI...

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Digestive function of lysozyme in synanthropic acaridid mites enables utilization of bacteria as a food source Tomas Erban Æ Jan Hubert Received: 14 January 2008 / Accepted: 3 March 2008 / Published online: 21 March 2008 Ó Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008 Abstract The activity of lysozyme, the enzyme that hydrolyzes peptidoglycan in G + bacterial cell walls, was detected in whole mite extracts (WME) and in spent growth medium extracts (SGME) of 14 species of synanthropic mites (Acari: Acaridida). The adaptation of lysozyme for digestive activity and bacteriophagy was based on: (i) high lysozyme activity in SGME, and (ii) the correlation of maximum lysozyme activity at acidic pH values, corresponding to pH in the ventriculus and caeca. We show that the digestion of Fuorescein-labeled Micrococcus lysodeikticus cells began in ventriculus and continued during the passage of a food bolus through the gut. The Fuorescein was absorbed by midgut cells and penetrated to parenchymal tissues. Eight species showed a higher rate of population growth on a M. lysodeikticus diet than on a control diet. The lysozyme activity in SGME was positively correlated to the standardized rate ( r s ) of population growth, although no correlation was found between r s and lysozyme activity in WME. The lysozyme activity in WME was negatively correlated to that in SGME. The highest activity of digestive lysozyme was found in Lepidoglyphus destructor , Chortoglyphus arcuatus and Dermatophagoides farinae . All of these ±ndings indicate that lysozyme in acaridid mites possesses both defensive and digestive functions. The enzymatic properties of mite lyso- zyme are similar to those of the lysozymes present in the ruminant stomach and in the insect midgut. Keywords Lysozyme ± Digestion ± Bacteria ± Micrococcus lysodeikticus T. Erban Department of Zoology, ²aculty of Science, Charles University, Vinicna 7, Praha 2 12801, Czech Republic T. Erban ± J. Hubert ( & ) Crop Research Institute, Drnovska 507, Praha 6, Ruzyne 16106, Czech Republic e-mail: [email protected] 123 Exp Appl Acarol (2008) 44:199–212 DOI 10.1007/s10493-008-9138-x
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Introduction Synanthropic mites inhabit stored food and animal feed; some also live in human houses, especially in beds, carpets, and dust-rich environments (Spieksma 1997 ). It is believed that these mites originally inhabited the soil and penetrated into human habitats through the nests of birds and mammals during the neolithic revolution (OConnor 1979 ). All of these habitats are rich in food sources, including decaying plant and animal tissues, and microorganisms growing on the decaying tissues. Many soil mites, including the ancestors of synanthropic species, were saprophagous and fed on decaying tissues and microor- ganisms (Luxton 1972 ; Maraun et al. 2003 ; Siepel and de Ruiter-Dijkman 1993 ). Evidence of synanthropic mites feeding on microscopic fungi is well documented (Hubert et al.
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fulltext_7 - Exp Appl Acarol (2008) 44:199212 DOI...

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