2010 Volume 35 Issue 3 Pages 265-274
Normal insect development requires a precisely timed, precipitous drop in hemolymph juvenile hormone (JH) titer. This drop occurs through a coordinated halt in JH biosynthesis and increase in JH metabolism. In many species, JH esterase (JHE) is critical for metabolism of the resonance-stabilized methyl ester of JH. JHE metabolizes JH with a high kcat/KM ratio that results primarily from an exceptionally low KM. Here we review the biochemistry and structure of authentic and recombinant JHEs from six insect orders, and present updated diagnostic criteria that help to distinguish JHEs from other carboxylesterases. The use of a JHE-encoding gene to improve the insecticidal efficacy of biopesticides is also discussed.