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Melanin insect cuticle

Mi Young Noh, Subbaratnam Muthukrishnan, Karl J Kramer, Yasuyuki Arakane
Adult beetles (Coleoptera) are covered primarily by a hard exoskeleton or cuticle. For example, the beetle elytron is a cuticle-rich highly modified forewing structure that shields the underlying hindwing and dorsal body surface from a variety of harmful environmental factors by acting as an armor plate. The elytron comes in a variety of colors and shapes depending on the coleopteran species. As in many other insect species, the cuticular tanning pathway begins with tyrosine and is responsible for production of a variety of melanin-like and other types of pigments...
October 2016: Current Opinion in Insect Science
Liang Qiao, Minghui Du, Xin Liang, Youjin Hao, Xiu He, Fengling Si, Ting Mei, Bin Chen
Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the initial enzyme in the melanin pathway, catalyzes tyrosine conversion into Dopa. Although expression and regulation of TH have been shown to affect cuticle pigmentation in insects, no direct functional studies to date have focused on the specific physiological processes involving the enzyme during mosquito development. In the current study, silencing of AsTH during the time period of continuous high expression in Anopheles sinensis pupae led to significant impairment of cuticle tanning and thickness, imposing a severe obstacle to eclosion in adults...
2016: Scientific Reports
Keith J King, Brent J Sinclair
Montane insects are at a higher risk of desiccation than their lowland counterparts and are expected to have evolved reduced water loss. Hemideina spp. (tree weta; Orthoptera: Anostostomatidae) have both lowland (Hemideina femorata, Hemideina crassidens and Hemideina thoracica) and montane (Hemideina maori and Hemideina ricta) species. H. maori has both melanic and yellow morphs. We use these weta to test two hypotheses: that montane insects lose water more slowly than lowland species, and that cuticular water loss rates are lower in darker insects than lighter morphs, because of incorporation of melanin in the cuticle...
July 2015: Journal of Experimental Biology
Haichen Yin, Muhammad Shakeel, Jing Kuang, Jianhong Li
Melanism is a common polymorphism in many insect species that also influences immune function. According to the thermal melanin hypothesis, ectothermic individuals from cooler environments have darker cuticles and higher polyphenol oxidase (PO) levels, which represent a better immunocompetence. In this study, the links among environmental temperature, melanism, and PO activity of Saccharosydne procerus (Matsumura) were examined. Most S. procerus have a black spot on their forewings at high temperatures in the field and in the laboratory...
2015: PloS One
Mi Young Noh, Karl J Kramer, Subbaratnam Muthukrishnan, Richard W Beeman, Michael R Kanost, Yasuyuki Arakane
Yellow protein (dopachrome conversion enzyme, DCE) is involved in the melanin biosynthetic pathway that significantly accelerates pigmentation reactions in insects. Recent studies have suggested that the insect yellow genes represent a rapidly evolving gene family generating functionally diverse paralogs, but the exact physiological functions of several yellow genes are still not understood. To study the function(s) of one of the yellow genes, yellow-e (TcY-e), in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, we performed real-time PCR to analyze its developmental and tissue-specific expression, and utilized immunohistochemistry to identify the localization of the TcY-e protein in adult cuticle...
March 15, 2015: Developmental Biology
Ian C Kutch, Hasan Sevgili, Tyler Wittman, Kenneth M Fedorka
As temperatures change, insects alter the amount of melanin in their cuticle to improve thermoregulation. However, melanin is also central to insect immunity, suggesting that thermoregulatory strategy may indirectly impact immune defense by altering the abundance of melanin pathway components (a hypothesis we refer to as thermoregulatory-dependent immune investment). This may be the case in the cricket Allonemobius socius, where warm environments (both seasonal and geographical) produced crickets with lighter cuticles and increased pathogen susceptibility...
October 15, 2014: Journal of Experimental Biology
Iryna Shakhmantsir, Nicole L Massad, Jennifer A Kennell
BACKGROUND: Insect pigmentation is a phenotypically plastic trait that plays a role in thermoregulation, desiccation tolerance, mimicry, and sexual selection. The extent and pattern of pigmentation of the abdomen and thorax in Drosophila melanogaster is affected by environmental factors such a growth temperature and access to the substrates necessary for melanin biosynthesis. This study aimed to determine the effect of nutritional status during development on adult pigmentation and test whether nutrient sensing through the Insulin/IGF and target of rapamycin (TOR) pathways regulates the melanization of adult cuticle in Drosophila...
March 2014: Developmental Dynamics: An Official Publication of the American Association of Anatomists
Christopher John Vavricka, Qian Han, Prajwalini Mehere, Haizhen Ding, Bruce M Christensen, Jianyong Li
Differences in the metabolism of tyrosine between insects and mammals present an interesting example of molecular evolution. Both insects and mammals possess fine-tuned systems of enzymes to meet their specific demands for tyrosine metabolites; however, more homologous enzymes involved in tyrosine metabolism have emerged in many insect species. Without knowledge of modern genomics, one might suppose that mammals, which are generally more complex than insects and require tyrosine as a precursor for important catecholamine neurotransmitters and for melanin, should possess more enzymes to control tyrosine metabolism...
February 2014: Insect Science
Kenneth M Fedorka, Emily K Copeland, Wade E Winterhalter
To improve thermoregulation in colder environments, insects are expected to darken their cuticles with melanin via the phenoloxidase cascade, a phenomenon predicted by the thermal melanin hypothesis. However, the phenoloxidase cascade also plays a significant role in insect immunity, leading to the additional hypothesis that the thermal environment indirectly shapes immune function via direct selection on cuticle color. Support for the latter hypothesis comes from the cricket Allonemobius socius, where cuticle darkness and immune-related phenoloxidase activity increase with latitude...
November 1, 2013: Journal of Experimental Biology
D A Roff, D J Fairbairn
Melanism is an important component of insect cuticle and serves numerous functions that enhance fitness. Despite its importance, there is little information on its genetic basis or its phenotypic and genetic correlation with fitness-related traits. Here, we examine the heritability of melanism in the wing dimorphic sand cricket and determine its phenotypic and genetic correlation with wing morphology, gonad mass and size of the dorso-longitudinal muscles (the principle flight muscles). Previously demonstrated trade-offs among these traits are significant factors in the evolution of life history variation...
July 2013: Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Panchanathan Manivasagan, Jayachandran Venkatesan, Kannan Sivakumar, Se-Kwon Kim
Melanins are enigmatic pigments that are produced by a wide variety of microorganisms including several species of bacteria and fungi. Melanins are biological macromolecules with multiple important functions, yet their structures are not well understood. Melanins are frequently used in medicine, pharmacology, and cosmetics preparations. Melanins also have great application potential in agriculture industry. They have several biological functions including photoprotection, thermoregulation, action as free radical sinks, cation chelators, and antibiotics...
October 2013: World Journal of Microbiology & Biotechnology
Najealicka Armstrong, Malaisamy Ramamoorthy, Delina Lyon, Kimberly Jones, Atanu Duttaroy
Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), like almost all nanoparticles, are potentially toxic beyond a certain concentration because the survival of the organism is compromised due to scores of pathophysiological abnormalities past that concentration. However, the mechanism of AgNP toxicity remains undetermined. Instead of applying a toxic dose, we attempted to monitor the effects of AgNPs at a nonlethal concentration on wild type Drosophila melanogaster by exposing them throughout their development. All adult flies raised in AgNP doped food showed that up to 50 mg/L concentration AgNP has no negative influence on median survival; however, these flies appeared uniformly lighter in body color due to the loss of melanin pigments in their cuticle...
2013: PloS One
Liang Qiao, Yuanhao Li, Gao Xiong, Xiaofan Liu, Songzhen He, Xiaoling Tong, Songyuan Wu, Hai Hu, Rixin Wang, Hongwei Hu, Lushi Chen, Li Zhang, Jie Wu, Fangyin Dai, Cheng Lu, Zhonghuai Xiang
Catecholamine metabolism plays an important role in the determination of insect body color and cuticle sclerotization. To date, limited research has focused on these processes in silkworm. In the current study, we analyzed the interactions between catecholamines and melanin genes and their effects on the pigmentation patterns and physical properties of sclerotized regions in silkworm, using the melanic mutant melanism (mln) silkworm strain as a model. Injection of β-alanine into mln mutant silkworm induced a change in catecholamine metabolism and turned its body color yellow...
2012: PloS One
Robin M Verble, Ashley D Meyer, Maurice G Kleve, Stephen P Yanoviak
Some parasites modify the color of their arthropod hosts, presumably to facilitate transmission to a new host. Mechanisms for such changes often are unknown, but altered exoskeletal color in adult insects typically occurs via structural modifications or redistribution of pigments. Here, we examine the cuticle structure of workers of the Neotropical canopy ant Cephalotes atratus infected with the nematode Myrmeconema neotropicum. We hypothesized that the conspicuous red color of the gaster (the globular posterior body region) of infected ants results from structural changes, specifically localized exoskeletal thinning...
February 2012: Journal of Parasitology
Jong-Rok Jeon, Petr Baldrian, Kumarasamy Murugesan, Yoon-Seok Chang
Laccases are oxidases that contain several copper atoms, and catalyse single-electron oxidations of phenolic compounds with concomitant reduction of oxygen to water. The enzymes are particularly widespread in ligninolytic basidiomycetes, but also occur in certain prokaryotes, insects and plants. Depending on the species, laccases are involved in various biosynthetic processes contributing to carbon recycling in land ecosystems and the morphogenesis of biomatrices, wherein low-molecular-weight naturally occurring phenols serve as key enzyme substrates...
May 2012: Microbial Biotechnology
Joseph Lomakin, Yasuyuki Arakane, Karl J Kramer, Richard W Beeman, Michael R Kanost, Stevin H Gehrke
Cuticle tanning in insects involves simultaneous cuticular pigmentation and hardening or sclerotization. The dynamic mechanical properties of the highly modified and cuticle-rich forewings (elytra) from Tribolium castaneum (red flour beetle) wild-type and body color mutant strains were investigated to relate body coloration and elytral mechanical properties. There was no statistically significant variation in the storage modulus E' among the elytra from jet, cola, sooty and black mutants or between the mutants and the wild-type GA-1 strain: E' averaged 5...
December 2010: Journal of Insect Physiology
Ashley Bear, Ariel Simons, Erica Westerman, Antónia Monteiro
Studies on insect melanism have greatly contributed to our understanding of natural selection and the ultimate factors influencing the evolution of darkly pigmented phenotypes. Research on several species of melanic lepidopteran larvae have found that low levels of circulating juvenile hormone (JH) titers are associated with a melanic phenotype, suggesting that genetic changes in the JH biosynthetic pathway give rise to increased deposition of melanin granules in the cuticle in this group. But does melanism arise through different molecular mechanisms in different species? The present study reports on a Bicyclus anynana (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) dark larvae single locus mutation, in which larvae exhibit a darker cuticle relative to wild type...
2010: PloS One
Yasuyuki Arakane, Neal T Dittmer, Yoshinori Tomoyasu, Karl J Kramer, Subbaratnam Muthukrishnan, Richard W Beeman, Michael R Kanost
Querying the genome of the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, with the Drosophila melanogaster Yellow-y (DmY-y) protein sequence identified 14 Yellow homologs. One of these is an ortholog of DmY-y, which is required for cuticle pigmentation (melanization), and another is an ortholog of DmY-f/f2, which functions as a dopachrome conversion enzyme (DCE). Phylogenetic analysis identified putative T. castaneum orthologs for eight of the D. melanogaster yellow genes, including DmY-b, -c, -e, -f, -g, -g2, -h and -y...
March 2010: Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Bart Boerjan, Peter Verleyen, Jurgen Huybrechts, Liliane Schoofs, Arnold De Loof
Corazonin (Crz) is an 11 amino acid C-terminally amidated neuropeptide that has been identified in most arthropods examined with the notable exception of beetles and an aphid. The Crz-receptor shares sequence similarity to the GnRH-AKH receptor family thus suggesting an ancestral function related to the control of reproduction and metabolism. In 1989, Crz was purified and identified as a potent cardioaccelerating agent in cockroaches (hence the Crz name based on "corazon", the Spanish word for "heart"). Since the initial assignment as a cardioacceleratory peptide, additional functions have been discovered, ranging from pigment migration in the integument of crustaceans and in the eye of locusts, melanization of the locust cuticle, ecdysis initiation and in various aspects of gregarization in locusts...
April 1, 2010: General and Comparative Endocrinology
Y-P Zheng, W-Y He, C Béliveau, A Nisole, D Stewart, S-C Zheng, D Doucet, M Cusson, Q-L Feng
Four cDNAs (Cfserpin-1a, Cfserpin-1b, Cfserpin-1c and Cfserpin-1d) of the Choristoneura fumiferana serpin-1 gene were cloned from an epidermis cDNA library. Analysis of the deduced amino acid sequences indicated that the cloned cDNAs encode four different proteins displaying identical N- but distinct C-termini, the latter region containing the inhibitory loop. The entire CfSerpin-1 gene is transcribed while the variants are generated. Antibodies generated against the purified recombinant serpins cross-reacted with the other three...
October 2009: Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part B, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
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