3 years ago

The effect of within-instar development on tracheal diameter and hypoxia-inducible factors α and β in the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta

The effect of within-instar development on tracheal diameter and hypoxia-inducible factors α and β in the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta
As insects grow within an instar, body mass increases, often more than doubling. The increase in mass causes an increase in metabolic rate and hence oxygen demand. However, the insect tracheal system is hypothesized to increase only after molting and may be compressed as tissues grow within an instar. The increase in oxygen demand in the face of a potentially fixed or decreasing supply could result in hypoxia as insects near the end of an instar. To test these hypotheses, we first used synchrotron X-ray imaging to determine how diameters of large tracheae change within an instar and after molting to the next instar in the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta. Large tracheae did not increase in diameter within the first, second, third, and fourth instars, but increased upon molting. To determine if insects are hypoxic at the end of instars, we used the presence of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) as an index. HIF-α and HIF-β dimerize in hypoxia and act as a transcription factor that turns on genes that will increase oxygen delivery. We sequenced both of these genes and measured their mRNA levels at the beginning and end of each larval instar. Finally, we obtained an antibody to HIF-α and measured protein expression during the same time. Both mRNA and protein levels of HIFs were increased at the end of most instars. These data support the hypothesis that some insects may experience hypoxia at the end of an instar, which could be a signal for molting. Summary Statement As caterpillars grow within an instar, major tracheae do not increase in size, while metabolic demand increases. At the same life stages, caterpillars increased expression of hypoxia inducible factors, suggesting that they become hypoxic near the end of an instar.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S002219101730272X

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