Drosophila Serpin-28D regulates hemolymph phenoloxidase activity and adult pigmentation.
In insects the enzyme phenoloxidase (PO) catalyzes melanin deposition at the wound site and around parasitoid eggs. Its proenzyme prophenoloxidase (proPO) is proteolytically cleaved to active phenoloxidase by a cascade consisting of serine proteases and inhibited by serpins. The Drosophila genome encodes 29 serpins, of which only two, Serpin-27A (Spn27A) and Necrotic, have been analyzed in detail. Using a genetic approach, we demonstrate that the so far uncharacterized Serpin-28D (Spn28D, CG7219) regulates the proPO cascade in both hemolymph and tracheal compartments. spn28D is the serpin gene most strongly induced upon injury. Inactivation of spn28D causes pupal lethality and a deregulated developmental PO activation leading to extensive melanization of tissues in contact with air and pigmentation defects of the adult cuticle. Our data also show that Spn28D regulates hemolymph PO activity in both larvae and adults at a different level than Spn27A. Our data support a model in which Spn28D confines PO availability by controlling its initial release, while Spn27A is rather limiting the melanization reaction to the wound site. This study further highlights the complexity of the proPO cascade that can be differentially regulated in different tissues during development.