Med. Weter. 68 (7), 406-410, 2012

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Strachecka A., Borsuk G., Paleolog J., Olszewski K., Chobotow J., Skoczylas D.
Body-surface metalloprotease activity in Apis mellifera L. workers relative to environmental pollution
Metalloproteases are enzymes containing metallic ions, predominantly zinc ions, in their active sites. They are important for the maintenance of homeostasis and prevention of infections. The study was aimed at analysing the activity of metalloproteases on the cuticle of bees depending on environmental pollution and the development stage of the bees. The experiments were conducted on bees from two apiaries: one located in a polluted environment (close to the trunk road no. 17) and the other situated in a clean area (Nowiny). Eggs, larvae and pupae, as well as one-day-old, two-week-old, three-week-old and four-week-old workers, were collected in spring, summer, autumn and winter. The following methods were employed: protein content testing by the Lowry method (modified by Schacterle-Pollack) and metalloprotease activity testing by the Lee and Lin method (using o-phenantroline). Protein concentration values were found to be higher in the eggs, larvae and pupae than in the workers in both environments. Metalloprotease activity was not observed in the workers from the clean environment, but it was found in those kept in the polluted area. An elevated metalloprotease activity in the latter environment was observed only in summer. Bee workers, which synthesise and secrete metalloproteases onto their body surface, can be regarded as bioindicators of environmental pollution..
Key words: metalloproteases, protease activity, polluted and clean environment, cuticle, Apis mellifera