Acta Parasitologica

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 317–323 | Cite as

The mutual influence of proteins from Varroa destructor extracts and from honeybee haemolymph on their proteolytic activity — in vitro study

  • Regina J. Frączek
  • Krystyna Żółtowska
  • Zbigniew Lipiński
  • Małgorzata Dmitryjuk
Original Paper


The influence of extracts from Varroa destructor, a parasitic mite of the honeybee Apis mellifera, on the proteinase activity of worker bee haemolymph was analysed in vitro, along with the influence of bee haemolymph on the proteolytic activity of V. destructor extract. The study was conducted in three different environments: pH 7.5 (high activity of bee enzymes and very low activity of parasite enzymes), pH 5 (moderate activity of enzymes from both sources) and pH 3.5 (limited activity of bee proteinases and high activity of mite proteinases). Based on electrophoretic studies, the inhibition of the activity of bee haemolymph proteinases by V. destructor extracts was observed at each pH. The study at pH 7.5 with commercial inhibitors of the 4 main classes of proteinases (pepstatin A, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), E-64 (trans-epoxysuccinyl-L-leucylamido-(4-guanidino)-butane), soybean trypsin inhibitor and Kunitz inhibitor) suggested that parasite extracts mainly inhibited serine proteinases and, to a lower degree, cysteine and aspartyl proteinases. At pH 3.5 and pH 5, a decrease of approximately 40% in parasite proteinase activity was also observed in the presence of bee haemolymph. The result points to the presence of aspartyl proteinase inhibitors in bee haemolymph, which may be an important defence element for bees during food intake by a mite. It was demonstrated that trypsin and trypsin inhibitors are active in the excretion/secretion products of V. destructor, the proteinases of which may assist the parasite in food suckling by preventing haemolymph coagulation, among other things.


Apis mellifera inhibitors honeybee proteinases Varroa destructor 


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Copyright information

© Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Regina J. Frączek
    • 1
  • Krystyna Żółtowska
    • 1
  • Zbigniew Lipiński
    • 2
  • Małgorzata Dmitryjuk
    • 1
  1. 1.Biochemistry Department, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of Warmia and MazuryOlsztynPoland
  2. 2.Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of Polish Academy of SciencesDivision of Reproductive BiologyOlsztynPoland

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