Regulation of ecdysteroidogenesis in prothoracic glands of the tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta

Academic Article


  • Ecdysteroidogenesis in Manduca sexta prothoracic glands is regulated by a set of bioregulatory molecules, including prothoracicotropic hormone (PTTH) and a protein factor present in larval hemolymph, and by the competence of the glands to synthesize ecdysteroids in response to those molecules. A larval molting bioassay was used to assess the in vivo activity of Manduca PTTHs. Crude PTTH, big PTTH, and small PTTH each elicited a larval molt in head‐ligated larvae. However, big PTTH was ∽10‐fold more potent than crude PTTH, which was, in turn, several orders of magnitude more potent than small PTTH. When big and small PTTH were combined, the molting response was similar to that elicited with crude PTTH. The chemical nature of the hemolymph protein factor was also investigated. Injection of [ H]cholesterol into last‐instar larvae and fractionation of the radiolabeled hemolymph by gel filtration chromatography revealed three peaks of radioactivity. One peak eluted in fractions containing the hemolymph protein factor, a result consistent with the notion that the factor transports a sterol substrate. The possibility that the factor is a 3(2)‐ketoreductase was investigated by assessing the effect of the factor on the accumulation of RIA‐detectable ecdysteroids in prothoracic‐gland‐conditioned medium. Three of five preparations of the factor significantly enhanced the amount of RIA‐detectable ecdysteroids in conditioned medium, indicating that at least some preparations of the factor may contain ketoreductase activity. The above findings are discussed in the context of current hypotheses of how bioregulatory molecules interact with the prothoracic glands to regulate ecdysteroidogenesis in Manduca. Copyright © 1989 Wiley‐Liss, Inc., A Wiley Company 3
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    Author List

  • Watson RD; Thomas MK; Bollenbacher WE
  • Start Page

  • 255
  • End Page

  • 263
  • Volume

  • 252
  • Issue

  • 3