Increased expression of unusual EP repeat-containing proteins in the midgut of the tsetse fly (Glossina) after bacterial challenge

L. R. Haines, A. M. Jackson, M. J. Lehane, J. M. Thomas, A. Y. Yamaguchi, J. D. Haddow, T. W. Pearson

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Proteins containing a glutamic acid-proline (EP) repeat epitope were immunologically detected in midguts from eight species of Glossina (tsetse flies). The molecular masses of the tsetse EP proteins differed among species groups. The amino acid sequence of one of these proteins, from Glossina palpalis palpalis, was determined and compared to the sequence of a homologue, the tsetse midgut EP protein of Glossina m. morsitans. The extended EP repeat domains comprised between 36% (G. m. morsitans) and 46% (G. p. palpalis) of the amino acid residues, but otherwise the two polypeptide chains shared most of their sequences and predicted functional domains. The levels of expression of tsetse EP protein in adult teneral midguts were markedly higher than in midguts from larvae. The EP protein was detected by immunoblotting in the fat body, proventriculus and midgut, the known major immune tissues of tsetse and is likely secreted as it was also detected in hemolymph. The EP protein was not produced by the bacterial symbionts of tsetse midguts as determined by genome analysis of Wigglesworthia glossinidia and immunoblot analysis of Sodalis glossinidius. Bacterial challenge of G. m. morsitans, by injection of live E. coli, induced augmented expression of the tsetse EP protein. The presence of EP proteins in a wide variety of tsetse, their constitutive expression in adult fat body and midguts and their upregulation after immunogen challenge suggest they play an important role as a component of the immune system in tsetse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-423
Number of pages11
JournalInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2005


  • EP repeat protein
  • Fat body
  • Glossina
  • Immune response
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Midgut
  • Proventriculus
  • Tsetse
  • Tsetse EP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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