Hemozoin (Hz) is a heme crystal produced by several blood-feeding organisms in order to detoxify free heme released upon hemoglobin (Hb) digestion. Here we show that heme crystallization also occurs in three species of triatomine insects. Ultraviolet-visible and infrared light absorption spectra of insoluble pigments isolated from the midgut of three triatomine species Triatoma infestans, Dipetalogaster maximus and Panstrongylus megistus indicated that all produce Hz. Morphological analysis of T. infestans and D. maximus midguts revealed the close association of Hz crystals to perimicrovillar membranes and also as multicrystalline assemblies, forming nearly spherical structures. Heme crystallization was promoted by isolated perimicrovillar membranes from all three species of triatomine bugs in vitro in heat-sensitive reactions. In conclusion, the data presented here indicate that Hz formation is an ancestral adaptation of Triatominae to a blood-sucking habit and that the presence of perimicrovillar membranes plays a central role in this process. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserve
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.