Summer Research

* Student(s): Kristin Patrick , Anna Arnold
Advisor: Herman Lehman

Title: Visualization of 20HE receptors and TβH mRNA in the nervous system of the hawk moth, Manduca sexta


Octopamine is a neurotransmitter that is developmentally regulated in the insect nervous system during metamorphosis. Steroid hormones, specifically 20-HE, are responsible for the regulation of octopamine in the nervous system of the Manduca sexta. Tyramine β-hydroxylase (TβH) is an essential enzyme for the synthesis of octopamine. Levels of TβH have been shown to increase throughout Manduca development (Lehman et al., 2000). In order to understand the link between steroid hormones and octopamine synthesis, we have used immunocytochemistry and in-situ hybridization methods to visualize steroid hormone receptors and TβH mRNA at different stages of development. We suggest that the mechanism of octopamine synthesis induction via steroid hormone receptors may be relatively uncomplicated if steroid hormone receptor expression and TβH transcription are co-localized and temporally correlated in the abdominal ganglia of developing nervous system of Manduca sexta.

Summer stipend support for AA was provided by the Merck/AAAS grant and support for KP was provided by a Schambach grant.