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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2013 Jun;43(6):522-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2013.03.002. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

Effects of period RNAi on V-ATPase expression and rhythmic pH changes in the vas deferens of Spodoptera littoralis (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae).

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Departament of Animal Physiology, Zoological Institute, Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw, 1 Miecznikowa Str., 02-096 Warsaw, Poland.


Circadian clocks (oscillators) regulate multiple aspects of insect behaviour and physiology. The circadian system located in the male reproductive tract of Lepidoptera orchestrates rhythmic sperm release from testis and sperm maturation in the upper vas deferens (UVD). Our previous research on the cotton leafworm, Spodoptera littoralis, suggested rhythmic changes in the V-ATPase levels in the UVD epithelium, which correlated with rhythmic pH fluctuations in the UVD lumen. However, it was not known whether UVD cells contain clock mechanism that generates these daily fluctuations. In the current paper, we show circadian rhythm in the expression of clock gene period at the mRNA and protein level in the UVD epithelium. To determine the role of PER in V-ATPase and pH regulation, testes-UVD complexes were treated in vitro with double-stranded fragments of per mRNA (dsRNA). This treatment, which transiently lowered per mRNA and protein in the UVD, altered expression of V-ATPase c subunit. In addition, per RNAi caused a significant delay in the UVD lumen acidification. These data demonstrate that the UVD molecular oscillator involving the period gene plays an essential role in the regulation of rhythmic V-ATPase activity and periodic acidification of the UVD lumen.

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