Identification of Ecdysis-Triggering Hormone from an Epitracheal Endocrine System

Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside 92521, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 33.61). 02/1996; 271(5245):88-91. DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5245.88
Source: PubMed


Developing insects repeatedly shed their cuticle by means of a stereotyped behavior called ecdysis, thought to be initiated by the brain peptide eclosion hormone. Here an ecdysis-triggering hormone, Mas-ETH, is described from the tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta. Mas-ETH contains 26 amino acids and is produced by a segmentally distributed endocrine system of epitracheal glands (EGs). The EGs undergo a marked reduction in volume, appearance, and immunohistochemical staining during ecdysis, at which time Mas-ETH is found in the hemolymph. Injection of EGs extract or synthetic Mas-ETH into pharate larvae, pupae, or adults initiates preecdysis within 2 to 10 minutes, followed by ecdysis. Sensitivity to injected Mas-ETH appears much earlier before ecdysis and occurs with shorter latency than that reported for eclosion hormone. The isolated central nervous system responds to Mas-ETH, but not to eclosion hormone, with patterned motor bursting corresponding to in vivo preecdysis and ecdysis. Mas-ETH may be an immediate blood-borne trigger for ecdysis through a direct action on the nervous system.

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    • "In this study, analysis of the test insect fed with C. microphylla extracts, revealed a developmental disruption in which the insects died (between 10 and 25 ppm) during pharate conditions after initiation of molting (the apolysis step), without completion of morphogenesis . During a molt, ecdysteroid levels first rise to stimulate onset of apolysis and cuticle synthesis, but then must fall to facilitate the release of eclosion hormone (EH) (Truman et al., 1983; 2002) and the ecdysis-triggering hormone (ETH) (Zitnan et al., 1996, 1999). These last substances act in concert to trigger insect ecdysis during the final stages of the molt. "
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    • "peptide modulation of behavior. In the moth Manduca, ETH (and the cosynthesized P-ETH peptide) derives from endocrine cells associated with trachea and elicits coordinated behavior by directly activating diverse neural targets (Zitnan et al., 1996). To discover the cellular basis for this precise modulatory mechanisms, Kim et al. (2006a) identified the receptors specifically tuned to ETH—these GPCRs are most closely related to receptors for mammalian neuromedins and TRH (Hewes and Taghert, 2001; Park et al., 2003). "
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    • "Instead, neurosecretory cells that send axons to a release site are located mainly in the pars intercerebralis, but some are also located in the pars lateralis or tritocerebrum, in the suboesophageal and/or ventral ganglia. Non-neuronal Inka cells that produce the releasing hormone ecdysis-triggering hormone (ETH) are located on the surface of insect tracheae [102]. The gut is also a site of synthesis and release (into the hemolymph) of some brain-gut peptides. "
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