Stimulation of ecdysteroidogenesis by small prothoracicotropic hormone: role of cyclic AMP

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 1993 Apr;92(2):221-8. doi: 10.1016/0303-7207(93)90012-9.


Prothoracicotropic hormones (PTTHs) stimulate synthesis and secretion of ecdysteroids by insect prothoracic glands. In Manduca sexta, PTTH exists as two size variants, small and big PTTH. Experiments were performed to assess the possible role of cyclic AMP in small PTTH signal transduction. cAMP analogs, or agents that increase intracellular cAMP, stimulated ecdysteroidogenesis. Small PTTH enhanced glandular cAMP levels; the rise in cAMP preceded an increase in ecdysteroid secretion. Prothoracic glands accumulated less cAMP when treated with small PTTH than when treated with big PTTH. A phosphodiesterase inhibitor (1-methyl-3-isobutylxanthine) (MIX) increased the amount of cAMP in glands treated with small but not big PTTH, suggesting that glandular phosphodiesterase activity may be elevated in the presence of small PTTH. PTTH-stimulated ecdysteroid secretion was suppressed by a cAMP antagonist (Rp-cAMPS). The effects of small and big PTTH on ecdysteroidogenesis were non-additive. The combined results suggest that cAMP is employed as a second messenger by both prothoracicotropins, and that there may be subtle differences in their respective mechanisms of action.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 1-Methyl-3-isobutylxanthine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cyclic AMP / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cyclic AMP / physiology*
  • Ecdysteroids
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Insect Hormones / pharmacology*
  • Invertebrate Hormones / biosynthesis*
  • Larva
  • Molecular Weight
  • Moths / growth & development
  • Moths / physiology*
  • Pupa
  • Second Messenger Systems / drug effects*
  • Steroids / biosynthesis*


  • Ecdysteroids
  • Insect Hormones
  • Invertebrate Hormones
  • Steroids
  • prothoracicotropic hormone
  • Cyclic AMP
  • 1-Methyl-3-isobutylxanthine