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Insulin/IGF signaling and TOR promote vitellogenesis via inducing juvenile hormone biosynthesis

By Shiming Zhu, Fangfang Liu, Huanchao Zeng, Na Li, Chonghua Ren, Yunlin Su, Shutang Zhou, Guirong Wang, Subba Reddy Palli, Jian Wang, Yiru Qin, Sheng Li

Posted 07 Apr 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.06.028639

Vitellogenesis, including vitellogenin (Vg) production in the fat body and Vg uptake by maturing oocytes, is of great importance for the successful reproduction of adult females. The endocrinal and nutritional regulation of vitellogenesis differs distinctly in insects. Here, the complex crosstalk between juvenile hormone (JH) and the two nutrient sensors, insulin/IGF signaling (IIS) and target of rapamycin (TOR), was investigated to elucidate the molecular mechanisms regulating vitellogenesis in the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana. Our data showed that a block of JH biosynthesis or JH action arrested vitellogenesis, partially by inhibiting the expression of doublesex (Dsx), a key transcription factor gene involved in the sex determination cascade. Depletion of IIS and TOR blocked both JH biosynthesis and vitellogenesis. Importantly, the JH analog methoprene, but not bovine insulin (to restore IIS) and amino acids (to restore TOR activity), restored vitellogenesis in the neck-ligated (both nutrient- and JH-deficient) cockroaches. Combining classic physiology with modern molecular techniques, we have demonstrated that JH signaling alone is able to induce vitellogenesis and thus ovarian maturation. By contrast, IIS and TOR do not induce vitellogenesis independent of JH, the nutrient sensors promote vitellogenesis in an indirect manner via activating JH biosynthesis.

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