Backgrond: In the mosquito Aedes aegypti the insulin/insulin growth factor I signaling (IIS) cascade is a key regulator of many physiological processes, including reproduction. Two important reproductive events, steroidogenesis in the ovary and yolk synthesis in the fat body, are regulated by the IIS cascade in mosquitoes. The signaling molecule phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is a key inhibitor of the IIS cascade that helps modulate the activity of the IIS cascade. In Ae. aegypti, six unique splice variants of AaegPTEN were previously identified, but the role of these splice variants, particularly AaegPTEN3 and 6, were unknown. Results. Knockdown of AaegPTEN or its specific splice variant AaegPTEN6 (the splice variant thought to regulate reproduction in the ovary and fat body) using RNAi led to a 15-63% increase in egg production with no adverse effects on egg viability during the first reproductive cycle. Knockdown of AaegPTEN3, expressed predominantly in the head, had no effect on reproduction. We also characterized the protein expression patterns of these two splice variants during development and in various tissues during a reproductive cycle. Conclusion. Previous studies in a range of organisms, including Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans, have demonstrated that disruption of the IIS cascade leads to decreased reproduction or sterility. In this study we demonstrate that knockdown of the IIS inhibitor PTEN can actually increase reproduction in the mosquito, at least during the first reproductive cycle.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)