Juvenile hormone acid methyltransferase activity in imaginal discs of Manduca sexta prepupae

Steven P. Sparagana, Govindan Bhaskaran, Punnee Barrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The occurrence of a peak of juvenile hormone (JH) during the prepupal period has been noted in several lepidopterans. In Manduca sexta and Hyalophora cecropia this peak is known to prevent the precocious onset of adult differentiation in imaginal tissues. However, it has previously been observed in our laboratory that corpora allata (CA) of this age are incapable of making JH owing to a lack of the terminal synthetic enzyme, juvenile hormone acid methyltransferase (JHAMT). Since the CA are required for normal pupation, it is likely that JH acid is the product released by the prepupal CA. Therefore, we analyzed whether JH acid treatment would prevent precocious adultoid differentiation in allatectomized M. sexta larvae. JH acid injections were found to be as effective as JH in normalizing pupation, and acted in a time‐ and dose‐dependent manner. This finding led to a question of whether injected or endogenous JH acid could be methylated to JH. Homogenates of several tissues from prepupae were assayed for the presence of JHAMT. Of the tissues assayed, only imaginal discs possessed significant levels of the enzyme. These results support our previously proposed mechanism for production of the prepupal JH peak in M. sexta.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-202
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985


  • imaginal disc
  • juvenile hormone
  • juvenile hormone acid
  • juvenile hormone acid methyltransferase
  • Manduca sexta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Insect Science


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