Hyaluronidase activity in saliva of European Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae)

Biting midges of the genus Culicoides transmit pathogens of veterinary importance such as bluetongue virus (Reoviridae: Orbivirus). The saliva of Culicoides is known to contain bioactive molecules including peptides and proteins with vasodilatory and immunomodulative properties. In this study, we detected activity of enzyme hyaluronidase in six Culicoides species that commonly occur in Europe and that are putative vectors of arboviruses. Hyaluronidase was present in all species studied, although its molecular size, sensitivity to SDS, and substrate specificity differed between species. Further studies on the potential effect of hyaluronidase activity on the vector competence of Culicoides species for arboviruses would be beneficial.

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