Sexual transfer of the steroid hormone 20E induces the postmating switch inAnopheles gambiae

Gabrieli, P., Kakani, E. G., Mitchell, S. N., Mameli, E., Want, E. J., Mariezcurrena Anton, A., Serrao, A., Baldini, F. and Catteruccia, F. (2014) Sexual transfer of the steroid hormone 20E induces the postmating switch inAnopheles gambiae. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(46), pp. 16353-16358. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1410488111) (PMID:25368171) (PMCID:PMC4246312)

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Abstract

Female insects generally mate multiple times during their lives. A notable exception is the female malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae, which after sex loses her susceptibility to further copulation. Sex in this species also renders females competent to lay eggs developed after blood feeding. Despite intense research efforts, the identity of the molecular triggers that cause the postmating switch in females, inducing a permanent refractoriness to further mating and triggering egg-laying, remains elusive. Here we show that the male-transferred steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) is a key regulator of monandry and oviposition in An. gambiae. When sexual transfer of 20E is impaired by partial inactivation of the hormone and inhibition of its biosynthesis in males, oviposition and refractoriness to further mating in the female are strongly reduced. Conversely, mimicking sexual delivery by injecting 20E into virgin females switches them to an artificial mated status, triggering egg-laying and reducing susceptibility to copulation. Sexual transfer of 20E appears to incapacitate females physically from receiving seminal fluids by a second male. Comparative analysis of microarray data from females after mating and after 20E treatment indicates that 20E-regulated molecular pathways likely are implicated in the postmating switch, including cytoskeleton and musculature-associated genes that may render the atrium impenetrable to additional mates. By revealing signals and pathways shaping key processes in the An. gambiae reproductive biology, our data offer new opportunities for the control of natural populations of malaria vectors.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Baldini, Dr Francesco
Authors: Gabrieli, P., Kakani, E. G., Mitchell, S. N., Mameli, E., Want, E. J., Mariezcurrena Anton, A., Serrao, A., Baldini, F., and Catteruccia, F.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
ISSN:0027-8424
ISSN (Online):1091-6490

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