The tissue distribution, developmental control, and induction of juvenile hormone esterase (JHE) mRNA was examined in Heliothis virescens using an 800-base pair fragment of a JHE cDNA clone. Northern hybridization analysis of poly(A) +RNA from fat body and integument of fifth stadium larvae indicated the presence of a single JHE mRNA species having an estimated length of 3 kilobases. On Day 2 of the fifth stadium (L5D2), basal JHE mRNA levels were 3-fold higher in the integument than the fat body, which correlated with the higher specific activity of the enzyme in the integument at this time. However, JHE mRNA levels in the fat body on Day 4 of the fifth stadium were 9-fold higher than on Day 2, while mRNA levels in the integument remained the same. This endogenous increase in JHE mRNA and activity in the fat body occurred at the time of peak hemolymph JHE activity. JHE mRNA was not detected in third stadium larvae which have very low levels of JHE activity. Treatment of L5D2 larvae with the juvenile hormone mimic epofenonane resulted in a 7- and 14-fold increase in the level of JHE mRNA in the integument and fat body, respectively. The mRNA induced in both tissues was of the same estimated length as the constitutively expressed message. The data indicate that the developmental regulation and induction of JHE can occur at the level of mRNA. There is evidence that the fat body secretes more JHE than does the integument and could be the major source of hemolymph JHE.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology