Regulation of epithelial shunt conductance by the peptide leucokinin

Thomas L. Pannabecker, Timothy K. Hayest, Klaus W. Beyenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Isolated Malpighian tubules of the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti spontaneously secrete NaCl, KCl and water across an epithelium of modest transepithelial resistance (40-80 Ωcm2) and high transepithelial voltage (30-70 mV, lumen positive). Transepithelial electrochemical potentials indicate that Na and K are secreted by active and Cl by passive transport mechanisms. The addition of synthetic leucokinin-VIII (LK-VIII, insect myotropic peptide) to the peritubular bath significantly increases the rates of transepithelial NaCl, KCl and water secretion. In parallel, LK-VIII depolarizes the transepithelial voltage from 59.3 to 5.7 mV, decreases the transepithelial resistance from 57.7 to 9.9 Ωcm2, and renders the basolateral and apical membrane voltages nearly equipotential (∼ -90 mV). Unilateral step changes of the [Cl] in the peritubular bath or tubule lumen elicit small transepithelial Cl diffusion potentials in the absence of LK-VIII but large transepithelial Cl diffusion potentials, up to 85% of Nernst equilibrium potentials, in the presence of LK-VIII. In Malpighian tubules treated with dinitrophenol for estimates of the shunt resistance Rsh, LK-VIII reduces Rsh from 52.5 to 5.8 ωcm2. Bilateral reductions of the Cl concentration in tubule lumen and peritubular bath fully restore Rsh to 55.8 Ωcm2in the presence of LK-VIII. LK-VIII has no effects when presented from the luminal side. These results suggest that LK-VIII increases the Cl conductance of the epithelial shunt via a receptor located at the basolateral side of the epithelium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-76
Number of pages14
JournalThe Journal of Membrane Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Malpighian tubule
  • dinitrophenol
  • epithelial shunt pathway chloride conductance
  • leucokinin-VIII
  • myotropic and diuretic peptides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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