Juvenile hormone (JH) plays important roles in insect development and physiology. JH titer is tightly regulated to coordinately adjust systemic physiology and development. Although control of JH titer is explained by the expression of JH biosynthetic enzymes in the corpora allata (CA), molecular mechanisms that regulate the expression of these genes remain elusive. In the present study, to identify novel regulators of JH biosynthetic genes, we conducted a gene expression screen using the CA and corpora cardiaca (CC) of the silkworm, Bombyx mori, in the JH synthesis period. We identified seven candidate genes and characterized their properties through extensive expression analyses. Of these candidates, we found that a novel gene, which encodes type II phosphatidylinositol 3,4-bisphosphate [PI(3,4)P2] 4-phosphatase, shows highly correlated expression with JH titer. In addition, expression of this gene was strongly upregulated by starvation, when JH biosynthetic enzyme genes are concurrently upregulated. These results, for the first time, imply possible involvement of phosphoinositol signal in regulation of JH biosynthesis, providing novel insights into molecular mechanisms of nutrition-dependent regulation of JH biosynthesis.
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Vol. 34 • No. 5