Insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS) pathway is known to control growth, development and reproduction. Insulin-like peptide mediated body size plasticity in Drosophila melanogaster has been reported. Here, our studies showed that IIS pathway and nutrition regulate growth and maturation of the male accessory gland (MAG) in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. The size of MAG increased from day 1 to day 5 post-adult emergence (PAE). This increase in the size of MAG is contributed by an increase in cell size, but not cell number. The growth of MAG was impaired after double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-mediated knockdown in the expression of genes coding for ILP3, InR, Chico, PI3k, AKT, and GATA1 involved in IIS pathway. Interestingly, starvation showed similar effects on the growth and maturation of MAG. The phenotypes observed in animals where IIS signaling pathway genes were knocked down are similar to the phenotypes observed after starving beetles for 5 days PAE. These data suggest that nutrition signals working through IIS pathway regulate maturation of MAG by promoting the growth of MAG cells.

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Published in Scientific Reports, v. 5, article 10567, p. 1-11.

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This study is supported by National Science Foundation (IBN-0421856).

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