• angiotensin converting enzyme;
  • captopril;
  • larval growth and development;
  • metamorphosis;
  • oviposition;
  • egg viability;
  • ecdysteroids;
  • trypsin;
  • Spodoptera littoralis


The role of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE, peptidyl dipeptidase A) in metamorphic- and reproductive-related events in the Egyptian cotton leafworm, Spodoptera littoralis (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae) was studied by using the selective ACE inhibitor captopril. Although oral administration of captopril had no effect on larval growth, topical administration to new pupae resulted in a large decrease of successful adult formation. Oviposition and overall appearance of adults emerging from treated larvae did not differ significantly from those emerging from non-treated larvae. In contrast, topical or oral administration of captopril to newly emerged adults caused a reduction in oviposition. By evaluating the effect of captopril on ecdysteroid titers and trypsin activity, we revealed an additional physiological role for ACE. Captopril exerted an inhibitory effect on ecdysteroid levels in female but not in male adults. Larvae fed a diet containing captopril exhibited increased trypsin activity. A similar captopril-induced increase in trypsin activity was observed in female adults. In male adults, however, captopril elicited reduced levels of trypsin activity. Our results suggest that captopril downregulates oviposition by two independent pathways, one through ecdysteroid biosynthesis regulation, and the other through regulation of trypsin activity. Apparently, fecundity is influenced by a complex interaction of ACE, trypsin activity, and ecdysteroid levels. Arch. Insect Biochem. Physiol. 57:123–132, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.