Functional Characterization of Pyrokinins and their Receptors in the Adult Mosquito, Aedes aegypti
MetadataShow full item record
The mosquito Aedes aegypti is a common disease vector that continues to cause devastating harm to human populations. Mosquitoes owe much of their success to their excretory system, comprised of the Malpighian tubules and hindgut, which play important roles when faced with environmental and dietary challenges. Pyrokinins are a family of neuropeptides initially identified based on their ability to regulate hindgut physiology of other insects. In light of this knowledge, this thesis aimed to examine whether pyrokinins have similar roles in A. aegypti. Pyrokinin receptors were functionally characterized and receptor transcript expression profiles were determined to confirm the hindgut as a target organ for these neuropeptides. A pyrokinin-2 family member was found to reduce contractile activity of the anterior hindgut, which represents the first role established for pyrokinins in any blood-feeding arthropod. These findings suggest the importance of this neuropeptide family in regulating critical processes in this disease vector.