Adenyl Cyclase and Its Relationship to Insect Diapause in the European Corn Borer, Ostrinia Nubilalis (Hubner)

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The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a link between adenyl cyclase activity and the diapause condition in the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis. Insects inhabiting those latitudes where cold and warm seasons alternate with one another have evolved mechanisms which allow them to remain dormant (in a state of diapause) during the winter months of the year. Photoperiod, as well as temperature and humidity, has been shown to control the onset, maintenance and termination of insect diapause. In recent years, evidence supporting a role for the cyclic AMP system, including adenyl cyclase, as well as a role for one or more biogenic amines in the pathway between light reception and the neuroendocrine regulation of the insect life cycle and in the multitude of neuroendocrine pathways controlling insect growth and metamorphosis has been accumulating. In light of this evidence, it was decided to investigate the effects of two light regimens, short day (diapausing-inducing) and long day (pupation-inducing), on adenyl cyclase activity of various stages of fifth instar European corn borer larval heads, and to determine the effects of the biogenic amine neurotransmitters, norepinephrine, octopamine, and dopamine on this activity. Adenyl cyclase activity was measured by a modification of the method of Krishna, et al., (1968). A summary of the results follows. In head extracts of fifth instar European corn borer larvae reared under both long day and short day photoperiodic regimens, adenyl cyclase activity in the presence of sodium fluoride increased as the larvae progressed through early, middle and mature stages. In long day larval heads, activity decreased in late prepupae and reached a low in pharate pupae. In contrast, adenyl cyclase activity in short day larval heads peaked in early diapause and then returned to prediapause levels during late diapause. Norepinephrine significantly enhanced adenyl cyclase activity only in early diapause larval head extracts, while octopamine significantly enhanced adenyl cyclase activity in head extracts of late short day mature and early diapause larvae. Dopamine was ineffective as an activator. An analysis of the combined effect of neurotransmitter and developmental stage revealed that in general, a given neurotransmitter in combination with short day larval head extracts resulted in higher adenyl cyclase levels than that neurotransmitter in combination with long day head extracts.