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Essential functions of mosquito ecdysone importers in development and reproduction


The primary insect steroid hormone ecdysone requires a membrane transporter to enter its target cells. Although an organic anion-transporting polypeptide (OATP) named Ecdysone Importer (EcI) serves this role in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and most likely in other arthropod species, this highly conserved transporter is apparently missing in mosquitoes. Here we report three additional OATPs that facilitate cellular incorporation of ecdysone in Drosophila and the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti. These additional ecdysone importers (EcI-2, -3, and -4) are dispensable for development and reproduction in Drosophila, consistent with the predominant role of EcI. In contrast, in Aedes, EcI-2 is indispensable for ecdysone-mediated development, whereas EcI-4 is critical for vitellogenesis induced by ecdysone in adult females. Altogether, our results indicate unique and essential functions of these additional ecdysone importers in mosquito development and reproduction, making them attractive molecular targets for species- and stage-specific control of ecdysone signaling in mosquitoes.

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