—New family of venom peptides discovered “Ampulexins help wasps subdue cockroaches to serve as hosts” Female emerald jewel wasps of the species Ampulex compressa inject venom into the brains of cockroaches to subdue them so they can serve as edible hosts for wasp eggs and larvae. The venom is a complex mixture of proteins, peptides, and small molecules. By analyzing wasp venom with mass spectrometry, Michael E. Adams and coworkers at the University of California, Riverside, found that the venom contains a previously unknown family of peptides, which the researchers dub “ampulexins” (Biochemistry 2018, DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.7b00916). The wasp’s venom apparatus consists of a venom gland and a venom sac, both of which produce ampulexins.
by Celia Henry Arnaud |
February 12, 2018