Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology vol:47 issue:3 pages:129-138
Control of gonad development in insects requires juvenile hormone, ecdysteroids, and a peptidic brain gonadotropin(s). Compared to vertebrates, the situation in insects with respect to the molecular structure of gonadotropins is far less uniform. Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) of vertebrates are glycoproteins that are synthezised in the hypothalamus and released from the anterior pituitary. They stimulate gonad development, the production of progesterone or of sex steroids (estrogens, androgens). None of the known insect gonadotropins is a glycoprotein, neither can they be grouped into a single peptide family. In Drosophila, two G-protein coupled receptors, structurally related to the mammalian glycoprotein hormone receptors, have been identified. Nothing is known about their natural ligands. The sex-steroids of insects are likely to be ecdysteroids (20E in females, E in males of some species). Some of the identified gonadotropins speed up vitellogenesis (locust OMP and some -PF/-RFamide peptides) or stimulate ecdysteroid production by the ovaries (locust-OMP and Aedes- OEH) or testis (testis ecdysiotropin of Lymantria). In flies, the only as yet identified gonadotropin is the cAMP-generating peptide of Neobellieria. The seeming absence of uniformity in gonadotropins in insects might be due to a multitude of factors that can stimulate ecdysteroid production and/or to the use of different bioassays. (C) 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.