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Keywords:

  • Insulin;
  • Diapause;
  • Juvenile hormone;
  • dsRNAi

Abstract

Short day-length is used to programme adult diapause in the mosquito, Culex pipiens. The downstream endocrine event that halts ovarian maturation is a shut-down in juvenile hormone (JH) production, and recent evidence suggests that the insulin signalling pathway may be a key upstream player in executing this developmental arrest. Genes encoding insulin-like peptides-1, -2 and -5 were identified in C. pipiens, and we report that transcript levels of insulin-like peptides-1 and -5 were significantly lower in diapausing females than in their nondiapausing counterparts. Genes encoding both insulin-like peptides-1 and -5 were suppressed using RNA interference in mosquitoes programmed for nondiapause, and ovarian maturation was monitored. Knocking down insulin-like peptide-1 with RNAi in nondiapausing mosquitoes resulted in a cessation of ovarian development akin to diapause, and this arrest in development could be reversed with an application of JH. Knocking down insulin-like peptide-5 did not alter ovarian development. These results are consistent with a role for insulin-like peptide-1 in the signalling pathway leading from the perception of short day-lengths to the shut-down in JH production that characterizes adult diapause in C. pipiens.