Ecdysteroids affect in vivo protein metabolism of the flight muscle of the tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta)

Marc E. Tischler, Min Wu, Paul Cook, Shirley Hodsden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Ecdysteroid growth promotion of the dorsolongitudinal flight muscle of Manduca sexta was studied by measuring in vivo protein metabolism using both "flooding-dose" and "non-carrier" techniques. These procedures differ in that the former method includes injection of non-labelled phenylalanine (30 μmol/insect) together with the [3H]amino acid. Injected radioactivity plateaued in the haemolymph within 7 min. With the flooding-dose method, haemolymph and intramuscular specific radioactivities were similar between 15 min and 2 h. Incorporation of [3H]phenylalanine into muscle protein was linear with either method between 30 and 120 min. Fractional rates (%/12 h) of synthesis with the flooding-dose technique were best measured after 1 h because of the initial delay in radioactivity equilibration. Estimation of body phenylalanine turnover with the non-carrier method showed 24-53%/h which was negligible with the flooding-dose method. Since the two methods yielded similar rates of protein synthesis, the large injection of non-labelled amino acid did not alter the rate of synthesis. Because the flooding-dose technique requires only a single time point measurement, it is the preferred method. The decline and eventual cessation of flight-muscle growth was mostly a consequence of declining protein synthesis though degradation increased between 76-86 h before eclosion and was relatively rapid. This decline in muscle growth could be prevented by treating pupae with 20-hydroxyecdysone (10 μg/insect). Protein accretion was promoted by a decline of up to 80% in protein breakdown, which was offset in part by a concurrent though much smaller decrease in protein synthesis. Therefore, ecdysteroids may increase flight-muscle growth by inhibiting proteolysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-708
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1990


  • Protein synthesis
  • development
  • ecdysteroids
  • protein degradation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Insect Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Ecdysteroids affect in vivo protein metabolism of the flight muscle of the tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this