PloS one

A critical role of the nuclear receptor HR3 in regulation of gonadotrophic cycles of the mosquito Aedes aegypti.

PMID 23049766


The orphan nuclear receptor HR3 is essential for developmental switches during insect development and metamorphosis regulated by 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E). Reproduction of female mosquitoes of the major vector of Dengue fever, Aedes aegypti, is cyclic because of its dependence on blood feeding. 20E is an important hormone regulating vitellogenic events in this mosquito; however, any role for HR3 in 20E-driven reproductive events has not been known. Using RNA interference (RNAi) approach, we demonstrated that Aedes HR3 plays a critical role in a timely termination of expression of the vitellogenin (Vg) gene encoding the major yolk protein precursor. It is also important for downregulation of the Target-of-Rapamycin pathway and activation of programmed autophagy in the Aedes fat body at the end of vitellogenesis. HR3 is critical in activating betaFTZ-F1, EcRB and USPA, the expressions of which are highly elevated at the end of vitellogenesis. RNAi depletion of HR3 (iHR3) prior to the first gonadotrophic cycle affects a normal progression of the second gonadotrophic cycle. Most of ovaries 24 h post second blood meal from iHR3 females in the second cycle were small with follicles that were only slightly different in length from of those of resting stage. In addition, these iHR3 females laid a significantly reduced number of eggs per mosquito as compared to those of iMal and the wild type. Our results indicate an important role of HR3 in regulation of 20E-regulated developmental switches during reproductive cycles of A. aegypti females.