The trypsin inhibitor pro-peptide induces toxic effects in Indianmeal moth, Plodia interpunctella

Seyed Ali Hemmati, Zeinab Takalloo, Majid Taghdir, Mohammad Mehrabadi, Saeed Balalaei, Saeid Moharramipour, Reza H. Sajedi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The inhibitory potential of an inhibitor peptide based on the pro-region of trypsin zymogen was investigated in Indianmeal moth, P. interpunctella, which is a world-wide insect pest of stored food. Five peptides were designed based on molecular docking simulations. The designed peptide with the best score was selected and synthesized for further screening in vitro and in vivo. The peptide was characterized and its inhibitory effects towards the insect trypsin were evaluated and the kinetic analysis revealed a competitive type of inhibition against the target enzyme. The results showed that the peptide could successfully suppress the pest midgut trypsin, and more interestingly, it did not show considerable inhibitory effects on a mammalian trypsin. We also aimed to assess the effect of dietary insect meal treated with different concentrations of the peptide and observed a significant growth and development retardation in pupa and adult insects fed with the inhibitor peptide. The outcomes of the present study suggest an efficient inhibitor peptide that could specifically bind the P. interpunctella trypsin and inhibit its activity, which would be safe against human being health and environment. Notably, this is the first report on in vivo assessment of the direct effect of a pro-region as the specific inhibitor in development as well as survival of the pest insect. Furthermore, our findings could be a promising for future designed pesticides used in pest management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104730
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPesticide Biochemistry and Physiology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Inhibitor peptide
  • Midgut trypsin
  • Pest management
  • Plodia interpunctella


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