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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2012 Mar;42(3):183-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2011.11.009. Epub 2011 Dec 14.

Enhanced expression of stress-responsive cytokine-like gene retards insect larval growth.

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1
Department of Applied Biological Sciences, Saga University, Honjo-1, Saga 840-8502, Japan.

Abstract

Growth rates of immature animals are governed by their feeding activities. A reduction in feeding sometimes causes serious growth retardation in insects; a typical case is often seen in host insects parasitized by a solitary endoparasitoid wasp. However, understanding of the mechanisms underlying the physiological repression of parasitized insects is fragmentary. Here we analyzed brain gene expression of the host common cutworm, Spodoptera litura, parasitized by a solitary endoparasitoid, Microplitis manilae, and identified a novel gene whose expression was significantly enhanced by parasitization. The gene encoded a pre-pro-peptide of a cytokine-like molecule and its expression was observed mainly in nervous tissues, hemocytes, and integuments. The 25 amino acid cytokine-like peptide encoded by the C-terminus of this gene was demonstrated to exist in the hemolymph of S. litura larvae and to change hemocytes from non-adhesive to adhesive in vitro. Further, injection of the active peptide reduced feeding activities of test larvae and consequently delayed their growth. The enhanced gene expression was also observed in larvae under severe stress conditions: abdominal ligature, proleg cutting, mechanical vibration, low temperature, and heat shock at 45°C. Elevated gene expression was maintained only in seriously growth-retarded larvae but not in recovered larvae at 24h or 48h after heat treatment. Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that stress-induced elevation of the peptide gene expression highly correlates with reduced feeding activities and growth retardation of the host larvae parasitized by M. manilae. Based on the conclusion, we named this peptide stress-responsive peptide (SRP).

PMID:
22198334
DOI:
10.1016/j.ibmb.2011.11.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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