Salivary glucose oxidase (GOX) has been reported in a few insect species where it plays a role in protection against infectious disease. Our recent research has focused on the role of this salivary enzyme in the noctuid Helicoverpa zea, where it functions as an effector to suppress the induced defenses of the host plant Nicotiana tabacum. In this study, we examined the labial gland GOX activities in 23 families of Lepidoptera (85 species) and two families of plant-feeding Hymenoptera (three species). We analyzed the relationship between host breadth and GOX activities, and we found a significant relationship, where highly polyphagous species were more likely to possess relatively high levels of GOX compared to species with more limited host range. We also examined the effect of diet on GOX activity and found that the host plant had a significant effect on enzyme activity. The significance of these findings is discussed in relation to caterpillar host breadth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics