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J Insect Physiol. 2007 Mar;53(3):216-29. Epub 2006 Sep 19.

Stage- and cell-specific expression of ecdysone receptors and ecdysone-induced transcription factors during midgut remodeling in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti.

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Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546, USA.


In insects, especially in mosquitoes that are adult blood feeders, midgut remodeling is an important event during metamorphosis. It involves two processes viz., programmed cell death (PCD) of larval cells, and proliferation and differentiation of imaginal cells to form pupal/adult midgut. These processes are regulated by 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) and juvenile hormone (JH), but the signaling mechanisms, which trigger specific changes remain poorly understood. Here, we report stage- and cell-specific expression of ecydone receptor (EcR), ultraspiracle (USP), broad (Br), E75B and hormone receptor 3 (HR3) during midgut remodeling in Aedes aegypti. In Ae. aegypti both EcR and USP genes code for two isoforms each and the expression of mRNA for these isoforms showed both stage- and cell-specific regulation. In general, EcR-B and USP-A mRNAs were detected during larval stages in larval cells, and EcR-A and USP-B mRNAs were detected during pupal stages in imaginal cells. These data suggest that EcR-B/USP-A heterodimer is important for PCD of larval cells and EcR-A/USP-B heterodimer is important for formation of pupal/adult midgut. Broad Z1 mRNA was detected only in the larval cells suggesting its primary role in PCD. It is likely that E75B and HR3 are probably involved in both PCD and imaginal cell proliferation and differentiation as their mRNAs were expressed in the larval as well as in imaginal cells. Application of JH analog, methoprene, lowered or delayed the expression of all the genes studied. These data suggest that 20E plays a major role in midgut remodeling and coordinates this process through stage- and cell-specific expression of different isoforms of nuclear receptors and transcription factors in the target larval and imaginal cells.

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