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Mech Dev. 2009 Jul;126(7):563-79. doi: 10.1016/j.mod.2009.03.005. Epub 2009 Mar 24.

Juvenile hormone regulation of male accessory gland activity in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum.

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  • 1Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546, USA.


Male accessory gland proteins (Acps) act as key modulators of reproductive success in insects by influencing the female reproductive physiology and behavior. We used custom microarrays and identified 112 genes that were highly expressed in male accessory glands (MAG) in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. Out of these 112 identified genes, 59 of them contained sequences coding for signal peptide and cleavage site and the remaining 53 contained transmembrane domains. The expression of 14 of these genes in the MAG but not in other tissues of male or female was confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR. In virgin males, juvenile hormone (JH) levels increased from second day post adult emergence (PAE), remained high on third day PAE and declined on fourth day PAE. The ecdysteroid titers were high soon after adult emergence but declined to minimal levels from 1 to 5 days PAE. Feeding of juvenile hormone analog, hydroprene, but not the ecdysteroid analog, RH-2485, showed an increase in size of MAGs, as well as an increase in total RNA and protein content of MAG. Hydroprene treatment also increased the expression of Acp genes in the MAG. RNAi-mediated knock-down in the expression of JHAMT gene decreased the size of MAGs and expression of Acps. JH deficiency influenced male reproductive fitness as evidenced by a less vigor in mating behavior, poor sperm transfer, low egg and the progeny production by females mated with the JH deficient males. These data suggest a critical role for JH in the regulation of male reproduction especially through MAG secretions.

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