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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2011 Dec;41(12):946-55. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2011.09.004. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

Deficiencies in acetyl-CoA carboxylase and fatty acid synthase 1 differentially affect eggshell formation and blood meal digestion in Aedes aegypti.

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Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, United States.


To better understand the mechanism of de novo lipid biosynthesis in blood fed Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, we quantitated acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) and fatty acid synthase 1 (FAS1) transcript levels in blood fed mosquitoes, and used RNAi methods to generate ACC and FAS1 deficient mosquitoes. Using the ketogenic amino acid (14)C-leucine as a metabolic precursor of (14)C-acetyl-CoA, we found that (14)C-triacylglycerol and (14)C-phospholipid levels were significantly reduced in both ACC and FAS1 deficient mosquitoes, confirming that ACC and FAS1 are required for de novo lipid biosynthesis after blood feeding. Surprisingly however, we also found that ACC deficient mosquitoes, but not FAS1 deficient mosquitoes, produced defective oocytes, which lacked an intact eggshell and gave rise to inviable eggs. This severe phenotype was restricted to the 1st gonotrophic cycle, suggesting that the eggshell defect was due to ACC deficiencies in the follicular epithelial cells, which are replaced after each gonotrophic cycle. Consistent with lower amounts of de novo lipid biosynthesis, both ACC and FAS1 deficient mosquitoes produced significantly fewer eggs than control mosquitoes in both the 1st and 2nd gonotrophic cycles. Lastly, FAS1 deficient mosquitoes, but not ACC deficient mosquitoes, showed delayed blood meal digestion, suggesting that a feedback control mechanism may coordinate rates of fat body lipid biosynthesis and midgut digestion during feeding. We propose that decreased ACC and FAS1 enzyme levels lead to reduced lipid biosynthesis and lower fecundity, whereas altered levels of the regulatory metabolites acetyl-CoA and malonyl-CoA account for the observed defects in eggshell formation and blood meal digestion, respectively.

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