To begin studies on reproduction in common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, we identified three genes coding for vitellogenin (Vg, a protein required for the reproductive success of insects) and studied their hormonal regulation. RNA interference studied showed that expression of Vg3 gene in the adult females is a prerequisite for successful completion of embryogenesis in the eggs laid by them. Juvenile hormone (JH) receptor, Methoprene-tolerant (Met), steroid receptor coactivator (SRC) and GATAa but not ecdysone receptor (EcR) or its partner, ultraspiracle (USP) are required for expression of Vg genes. Feeding and mating working through Vg, Met, SRC, EcR, and GATAa regulate oocyte development. Knockdown of the expression of Met, SRC, EcR, USP, BR-C (Broad-Complex), TOR (target of rapamycin), and GATAa in female adults resulted in a reduction in the number eggs laid by them. Interestingly, Kruppel homolog 1 (Kr-h1) knockdown in the adult females did not reduce their fecundity but affected the development of embryos in the eggs laid by females injected with Kr-h1 double-stranded RNA. These data suggest that JH functioning through Met and SRC regulate both vitellogenesis and oogenesis in C. lectularius. However, JH does not work through Kr-h1 but may work through transcription factors not yet identified.

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Published in Scientific Reports, v. 6, article no. 35546, p. 1-10.

© The Author(s) 2016

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Supported by National Institutes of Health (GM070559-10) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, HATCH under 2351177000.

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This is publication number 16-08-098 from the Kentucky Agricultural Experimental Station and published with the approval of the director.

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