Video_1_Receptor Characterization and Functional Activity of Pyrokinins on the Hindgut in the Adult Mosquito, Aedes aegypti.MOV
Pyrokinins are structurally related insect neuropeptides, characterized by their myotropic, pheromonotropic and melanotropic roles in some insects, but their function is unclear in blood-feeding arthropods. In the present study, we functionally characterized the pyrokinin-1 and pyrokinin-2 receptors (PK1-R and PK2-R, respectively), in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, using a heterologous cell system to characterize their selective and dose-responsive activation by members of two distinct pyrokinin subfamilies. We also assessed transcript-level expression of these receptors in adult organs and found the highest level of PK1-R transcript in the posterior hindgut (rectum) while PK2-R expression was enriched in the anterior hindgut (ileum) as well as in reproductive organs, suggesting these to be prominent target sites for their peptidergic ligands. In support of this, PRXa-like immunoreactivity (where X = V or L) was localized to innervation along the hindgut. Indeed, we identified a myoinhibitory role for a PK2 on the ileum where PK2-R transcript was enriched. However, although we found that PK1 did not influence myoactivity or Na+ transport in isolated recta, the PRXa-like immunolocalization terminating in close association to the rectal pads and the significant enrichment of PK1-R transcript in the rectum suggests this organ could be a target of PK1 signaling and may regulate the excretory system in this important disease vector species.