Enzymatic Mechanism for the Escape of Certain Moths from Their Cocoons

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Science  23 Oct 1964:
Vol. 146, Issue 3643, pp. 538-540
DOI: 10.1126/science.146.3643.538


An "escape hatch" from the cocoon of Antheraea pernyi is established by the hydrolytic action of a virtually pure proteinase which the moth first secretes and then dissolves by means of a solvent which maintains the enzyme at optimum pH. The proteinase is both synthesized and secreted by the maxillary galeae. The solvent derives from a pair of labial glands which have the form of long convoluted tubules lying alongside the foregut and opening to the exterior through a single aperture in the head.