Juvenile hormone (JH) is a central hormonal regulator of previtellogenic development in female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. JH levels are low at eclosion and increase during the first day after adult emergence. This initial rise in JH is essential for female reproductive maturation. After previtellogenic maturation is complete, the mosquito enters a 'state-of-arrest' during which JH synthesis continues at a slower pace and further ovary development is repressed until a blood meal is taken. By examining the relationships between juvenile hormone, follicular resorption and nutrition in A. aegypti, we were able to define a critical role of JH during the previtellogenic resting stage. The rate of follicular resorption in resting stage mosquitoes is dependent on nutritional quality. Feeding water alone caused the rate of follicular resorption to reach over 20% by day 7 after emergence. Conversely, feeding a 20% sucrose solution caused resorption to remain below 5% during the entire experimental period. Mosquitoes fed 3% sucrose show rates of resorption intermediate between water and 20% sucrose and only reached 10% by day 7 after emergence. Follicular resorption is related to JH levels. Ligated abdomens separated from a source of JH (the corpora allata) showed an increase in resorption comparable to similarly aged starved mosquitoes (16%). Resorption in ligated abdomens was reduced to 6% by application of methoprene. The application of methoprene was also sufficient to prevent resorption in intact mosquitoes starved for 48 h (14% starved vs. 4% starved with methoprene). Additionally, active caspases were localized to resorbing follicles indicating that an apoptotic cell-death mechanism is responsible for follicular resorption during the previtellogenic resting stage. Taken together, these results indicate that JH mediates reproductive trade-offs in resting stage mosquitoes in response to nutrition.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.