Gonadulin: A newly discovered insulin-like peptide
Congratulations go to Dr. Jimena Leyria (PDF), Lange & Orchard Lab, on their paper Gonadulin: A newly discovered insulin-like peptide involved in ovulation and oviposition in Rhodnius prolixus, a vector of Chagas disease published by Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Insulin-like peptides (ILPs) are vital hormones involved in a wide range of physiological processes in all organisms. In insects, insulin signaling has a key role in detecting and interpreting nutrient levels for egg production. Based on publicly available transcriptomes, a new ILP named gonadulin has been reported and suggested to be expressed by the gonads (hence its name). Although the identification of gonadulin establishes its existence, its physiological relevance remains poorly understood. Rhodnius prolixus is an obligate hematophagous insect and a primary vector of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas disease. In this study, we report for the first time the participation of gonadulin in reproductive performance of an hemipteran. By quantitative PCR and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), we find that the R. prolixus gonadulin transcript is highly expressed in the reproductive system, particularly in the calyx, a structure through which eggs move into the lumen of the lateral oviducts during ovulation. The putative gonadulin receptor, a member of the leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein-coupled receptor subfamily (LGR3), is most highly expressed in the central nervous system with lower levels in the reproductive tissue and other tissues. Interestingly, when the gonadulin signaling cascade is impaired using RNA interference (RNAi), eggs are retained primarily in the ovarioles and calyx, indicating that ovulation and oviposition are inhibited. Understanding the physiological processes involved in reproduction in R. prolixus will shed light on potential targets for effective production of biopesticides by translational research, thereby controlling insect populations and transmission of the disease.