Juvenile hormone regulation of vitellogenin synthesis in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum

Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2010 May;40(5):405-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2010.03.006. Epub 2010 Apr 8.


To elucidate the endocrine regulation of vitellogenin (Vg) synthesis in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, the titers of juvenile hormone (JH) and ecdysteroids in the whole body of female beetles were measured and compared with Vg mRNA levels. Juvenile hormone levels remained high while the ecdysteroid levels declined steadily during 1-5 days post adult emergence (PAE). The Vg mRNA levels began to increase by the end of 3rd day PAE and peaked by the 4th-5th day PAE. Gene expression profiling by microarray and quantitative real-time PCR analyses of RNA isolated from 1 to 5 days PAE beetles revealed that the genes coding for proteins involved in JH biosynthesis and action, but not those involved in 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) biosynthesis and action had similar expression patterns as the genes coding for Vg. RNA interference (RNAi)-aided knock-down in the expression of these genes showed that both JH and 20E were required for Vg gene expression. However, Vg mRNA was induced by the application of JH III but not by the injection of 20E into the previtellogenic females. These data suggest that JH is required for Vg synthesis in the fat body and 20E influences Vg synthesis through its action on oocyte maturation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ecdysterone / biosynthesis*
  • Fat Body / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Juvenile Hormones / metabolism*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Time Factors
  • Tribolium / metabolism*
  • Vitellogenins / biosynthesis*


  • Juvenile Hormones
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Vitellogenins
  • Ecdysterone