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PLoS One. 2014 Jul 29;9(7):e103614. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103614. eCollection 2014.

Role of Methoprene-tolerant (Met) in adult morphogenesis and in adult ecdysis of Blattella germanica.

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Institut de Biologia Evolutiva, CSIC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.


Juvenile Hormone (JH) represses metamorphosis of young instars in insects. One of the main players in hormonal signalling is Methoprene-tolerant (Met), which plays the role of JH receptor. Using the Polyneopteran insect Blattella germanica as the model and RNAi for transcript depletion, we have confirmed that Met transduces the antimetamorphic signal of JH in young nymphs and plays a role in the last nymphal instar moult in this species. Previously, the function of Met as the JH receptor had been demonstrated in the Eumetabola clade, with experiments in Holometabola (in the beetle Tribolium castaneum) and in their sister group Paraneoptera (in the bug Pyrrhocoris apterus). Our result shows that the function of Met as JH receptor is also conserved in the more basal Polyneoptera. The function of Met as JH transducer might thus predate the evolutionary innovation of metamorphosis. Moreover, expression of Met was also found in last nymphal instar of B. germanica, when JH is absent. Depletion of Met in this stage provoked deficiencies in wing growth and ecdysis problems in the imaginal moult. Down-regulation of the ecdysone-inducible gene E75A and Insulin-Like-Peptide 1 in these Met-depleted specimens suggest that Met is involved in the ecdysone and insulin signalling pathways in last nymphal instar, when JH is virtually absent.

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