Response of storage protein levels to variation in dietary protein levels

A. Telang, N. A. Buck, D. E. Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Storage proteins have been found to play a major role in insect metamorphosis and egg production and are accumulated during the actively feeding larval stage. Yet few studies have focused on how nutrition affects storage protein levels. Three storage proteins were identified in male and female Heliothis virescens pupae, one arylphorin and two putative high-methionine hexamers. Storage proteins were quantified in early pupae and in pharate adults. Storage protein levels peaked in 48-h pupae and were more abundant in females across all stages. Both male and female pharate adults retained a portion of total storage protein levels and females retained greater levels overall. In females, post-eclosion protein reserves will likely be used toward egg manufacturing, while the role of protein reserves in males remains speculative. In our previous study of H. virescens larvae, we found that protein-derived growth in females progressively increased as dietary protein levels increased. Our present data show that levels of storage protein also increased progressively along with dietary protein levels. This suggests that females allocated protein, in excess of adult tissue formation needs, toward storage protein. Our study is the first to demonstrate how responsive storage protein levels can be in face of varying levels of dietary protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1021-1029
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002


  • Egg production
  • Female nutrition
  • Heliothis virescens
  • Hexamerin
  • Storage protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Insect Science


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