Injected β-ecdysone was found to induce the synthesis of yolk protein (vitellogenin) in adult female Aedes aegypti without a blood meal. After injection of 5 μg ecdysone per mosquito, vitellogenin constituted 80 per cent of the total protein secreted by explanted fat body, a proportion comparable to that produced by fat body from blood-fed females. Moreover, the time course of induction of vitellogenin synthesis in ecdysone-injected mosquitoes was similar to that triggered by a blood meal. Response to ecdysone is dosedependent: 0·5 μg per female was required to stimulate synthesis to 50 per cent of the level found 18 hr after a blood meal. Ecdysone was effective in decapitated or ovariectomized mosquitoes, and also when applied directly to fat body preparations in vitro. Thus it appears that ecdysone acts directly on the fat body to induce specific protein synthesis, as does the vitellogenin stimulating hormone (VSH) from the ovary of blood-fed mosquitoes. These results suggest that ecdysone can replace VSH in inducing vitellogenin synthesis in the unfed mosquito.
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Acknowledgements-This work was supported by grants from the Whitehall Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (HD-02176), the National Science Foundation (GB 18606), and the Connecticut Research Foundation. We thank Drs. H. CHINO, T. OHTAKI, and N. IKEKAWAfo r the gift and analysis of a sample of p-ecdysone, and Dr. M. S. Fuchs for informing us of his findings before publication.