Signaling and function of insulin-like peptides in insects

Annu Rev Entomol. 2006:51:1-24. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ento.51.110104.151011.


Insulin-like peptides (ILPs) exist in insects and are encoded by multigene families that are expressed in the brain and other tissues. Upon secretion, these peptides likely serve as hormones, neurotransmitters, and growth factors, but to date, few direct functions have been demonstrated. In Drosophila melanogaster, molecular genetic studies have revealed elements of a conserved insulin signaling pathway, and as in other animal models, it appears to play a key role in metabolism, growth, reproduction, and aging. This review offers (a) an integrated summary of the efforts to characterize the distribution of ILPs in insects and to define this pathway and its functions in Drosophila and (b) a few considerations for future studies of ILP endocrinology in insects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diptera / physiology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insect Proteins / physiology
  • Insecta / physiology*
  • Insulin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Insulin / isolation & purification
  • Insulin / physiology
  • Invertebrates / physiology
  • Lepidoptera / physiology
  • Longevity / physiology
  • Orthoptera / physiology
  • Receptor, Insulin / physiology
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Somatomedins / physiology*


  • Insect Proteins
  • Insulin
  • Somatomedins
  • Receptor, Insulin