- The general and long term goal is to develop the new field of locust peptide neurotransmitters and hormones to such a stage that organic chemists and molecular biologists can engage in the development of practical applications for locust control.
- In the course of this project, the following signalling peptides have been identified in Schistocerca : 8 allatostatins and the coding gene, salivation peptide, a few myotropins, the releasing factor for adipokinetic hormone, neuroparsin and ovary maturating parsin. Trypsin modulating oostatic factor was isolated from mature ovaries. It is a small peptide but two amino acid residues could as yet not be identified. A second purification is being attempted. Four chymotrypsin inhibitors and the coding genes were also fully characterised. In addition, a trypsin inhibitor was found but determining its sequence continues to be difficult. A novel inhibitor of juvenile hormone biosynthesis was found in the fungus Penicilium. A variety of physiological results were obtained. An important discovery in the study of gregarization is the finding that isolation of the eggs soon after they are laid results in a hundred percent solitary animals.
- During the last year of the project, efforts are made to develop practical applications. Leuven and Marrakech concentrate on effects on feeding behaviour and food digestion; Bordeaux, Valencia and Rabat on reproduction and juvenile hormone biosynthesis; and Tunis continues its studies on gregarization.
- The project focuses on the identification of the peptides that control the biosynthesis of juvenile hormone, ecdysone, trypsin/chymotrypsin and on ones that regulate reproduction and food intake/digestion. The isolation and sequence determination are carried out in Leuven and Bordeaux, with the help of the partners in Morocco (Rabat, Marrakech) and in Tunis. Leuven concentrates on allatostatins, myotropins, ecdysiostatins and on peptides interfering with digestion in the gut, the latter in close collaboration with Marrakech. Bordeaux and Rabat concentrate on neuroparsins and on ovary maturating parsin. Bordeaux and Valencia do most of the research concerning the biosynthesis of juvenile hormone. Tunis is especially involved in the study of the mechanisms of gregarization. All laboratories are involved in the study of the physiological role of the different peptides. In their respective domains, they also search for practical applications .
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts