Molecular characterization of genes for molting enzymes from the red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus
Abstract: Insect chitinases are endo-type hydrolases that cleave chitin by retaining the β-(1→4) anomeric configuration of the oligomeric products. The genes encoding insect chitinases are distinct in terms of size, domain architecture, and physical organization. Hence, the genes’ products differ in their chemical and enzymatic properties, and in the patterns of expression during molting. Chitinase genes have been characterized in many insects, but no report exists for the red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus. We isolated, sequenced and characterized five chitinase genes from this insect. Although the isolated genes share common domains of insect chitinases, they are expressed variably in the cuticle and other tissues, suggesting roles in maintaining the life cycle of the weevil other than for just molting.