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Analysis of molecular markers for metamorphic competency and their response to starvation or feeding in the mosquito, Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae)

Journal of Insect Physiology
DOI: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2010.08.020
  • Larval-Pupal Molt
  • Metamorphosis
  • Development
  • Hormone
  • Gene Expression
  • Mrna Profiles
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


Abstract The nutritional condition of fourth instar larvae of the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, governs female longevity and egg production, both are key determinants of pathogen transmission. As well, nutrition provisions larval growth and development and attains its greatest pace in the last larval instar in preparation for metamorphosis to an adult. These developmental processes are regulated by a complex endocrine interplay of juvenile hormone, neuropeptides, and ecdysteroids that is nutrition sensitive. We previously determined that feeding for only 24h post-ecdysis was sufficient for fourth instar Ae. aegypti larvae to reach critical weight and accumulate sufficient nutritional stores to commit to metamorphosis. To understand the genetic basis of metamorphic commitment in Ae. aegypti, we profiled the expression of 16 genes known to be involved in the endocrine and nutritional regulation of insect metamorphosis in two ways. The first set is a developmental profile from the beginning of the fourth instar to early pupae, and the second set is for fourth instars starved or fed for up to 36h. By comparing the two sets, we found that seven of the genes (AaegCYP302, AaegJHE43357, AaegBrCZ4, AaegCPF1-2, AaegCPR-7, AaegPpl, and AaegSlif) were expressed during metamorphic commitment in fourth instars and in fed but not starved larvae. Based on these results, the seven genes alone or in combination may serve as molecular indicators of nutritional and metamorphic status of fourth instar Ae. aegypti larvae and possibly other mosquito species in field and laboratory studies to gauge sub-lethal effects of novel and traditional cultural or chemical controls.

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