Short neuropeptide F (sNPF) is a stage-specific suppressor for juvenile hormone biosynthesis by corpora allata, and a critical factor for the initiation of insect metamorphosis

Dev Biol. 2014 Sep 15;393(2):312-319. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2014.07.014. Epub 2014 Jul 27.


Molting and metamorphosis are essential events for arthropod development, and juvenile hormone (JH) and its precursors play critical roles for these events. We examined the regulation of JH biosynthesis by the corpora allata (CA) in Bombyx mori, and found that intact brain-corpora cardiaca (CC)-CA complexes produced a smaller amount of JH than that in CC-CA complexes and CA alone throughout the 4th and 5th (last) instar stadium. The smaller amount of synthesis was due to allatostatin-C (AST-C) produced by the brain. The CC synthesized short neuropeptide F (sNPF) that also suppressed the JH synthesis, but only in day 3 4th stadium and after the last larval ecdysis. For the suppression, both peptides prevented the expression of some of the distinct JH biosynthetic enzymes in the mevalonate pathway. Allatotropin (AT) stimulated sNPF expression in the CC of day 1 5th instar stadium, not of day 3 4th; therefore the stage-specific inhibition of JH synthesis by sNPF was partly due to the stimulative action of AT on the sNPF expression besides the stage-specific expression of the sNPF receptors in the CA, the level of which was high in day 2 4th and day 0 5th instar larvae. The cessation of JH biosynthesis in the last instar larvae is a key event to initiate pupal metamorphosis, and both sNPF and AST-C are key factors in shutting down JH synthesis, along with the decline of ecdysone titer and dopamine.

Keywords: Allatostatin; Allatotropin; Bombyx; Corpora allata; Corpora cardiaca; Juvenile hormone; Metamorphosis; Peptide; sNPF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bombyx / embryology*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Corpora Allata / metabolism*
  • Juvenile Hormones / biosynthesis*
  • Larva / growth & development
  • Metamorphosis, Biological
  • Neuropeptides / biosynthesis
  • Neuropeptides / genetics
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*
  • Pupa / growth & development


  • Juvenile Hormones
  • Neuropeptides
  • allatostatin
  • neuropeptide F