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Broad-complex functions in postembryonic development of the cockroach Blattella germanica shed new light on the evolution of insect metamorphosis

AuthorsHuang. J. H.; Lozano Fernández, Jesús ; Bellés, Xavier
Issue DateJan-2013
CitationBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects 1830(1): 2178-2187 (2013)
Abstract[Background] Insect metamorphosis proceeds in two modes: hemimetaboly, gradual change along the life cycle; and holometaboly, abrupt change from larvae to adult mediated by a pupal stage. Both are regulated by 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E), which promotes molts, and juvenile hormone (JH), which represses adult morphogenesis. Expression of Broad-complex (BR-C) is induced by 20E and modulated by JH. In holometabolous species, like Drosophila melanogaster, BR-C expression is inhibited by JH in young larvae and enhanced in mature larvae, when JH declines and BR-C expression specifies the pupal stage.
[Methods] Using Blattella germanica as a basal hemimetabolous model, we determined the patterns of expression of BR-C mRNAs using quantitative RT-PCR, and we studied the functions of BR-C factors using RNA interference approaches.
[Results] We found that BR-C expression is enhanced by JH and correlates with JH hemolymph concentration. BR-C factors appear to be involved in cell division and wing pad growth, as well as wing vein patterning.
[Conclusions] In B. germanica, expression of BR-C is enhanced by JH, and BR-C factors appear to promote wing growth to reach the right size, form and patterning, which contrast with the endocrine regulation and complex functions observed in holometabolous species.
[General significance] Our results shed new light to the evolution from hemimetaboly to holometaboly regarding BR-C, whose regulation and functions were affected by two innovations: 1) a shift in JH action on BR-C expression during young stages, from stimulatory to inhibitory, and 2) an expansion of functions, from regulating wing development, to determining pupal morphogenesis. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbagen.2012.09.025
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