Metabolic analysis reveals changes in the mevalonate and juvenile hormone synthesis pathways linked to the mosquito reproductive physiology

Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2014 Aug;51:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2014.05.001. Epub 2014 May 14.


Juvenile hormone (JH) regulates reproductive maturation in insects; therefore interruption of JH biosynthesis has been considered as a strategy for the development of target-specific insecticides. The corpora allata (CA) from mosquitoes is highly specialized to supply variable levels of JH, which are linked to ovarian developmental stages and influenced by nutritional signals. However, very little is known about how changes in JH synthesis relate to reproductive physiology and how JH synthesis regulation is translated into changes in the CA machinery. With the advent of new methods that facilitate the analysis of transcripts, enzymes and metabolites in the minuscule CA, we were able to provide comprehensive descriptions of the mevalonic (MVA) and JH synthesis pathways by integrating information on changes in the basic components of those pathways. Our results revealed remarkable dynamic changes in JH synthesis and exposed part of a complex mechanism that regulates CA activity. Principal component (PC) analyses validated that both pathways (MVAP and JH-branch) are transcriptionally co-regulated as a single unit, and catalytic activities for the enzymes of the MVAP and JH-branch also changed in a coordinate fashion. Metabolite studies showed that global fluctuations in the intermediate pool sizes in the MVAP and JH-branch were often inversely related. PC analyses suggest that in female mosquitoes, there are at least 4 developmental switches that alter JH synthesis by modulating the flux at distinctive points in both pathways.

Keywords: Aedes; Biosynthesis; Corpora allata; Juvenile hormone; Metabolomics; Mosquito.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / enzymology
  • Aedes / growth & development*
  • Aedes / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biosynthetic Pathways
  • Corpora Allata / enzymology*
  • Corpora Allata / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism*
  • Juvenile Hormones / biosynthesis*
  • Metabolomics
  • Mevalonic Acid / metabolism*
  • Ovary / growth & development*


  • Insect Proteins
  • Juvenile Hormones
  • Mevalonic Acid