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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Biological Control of Insects Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #191676


item Stanley, David

Submitted to: Annual Review of Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/24/2005
Publication Date: 1/6/2006
Citation: Stanley, D.W. 2006. Prostaglandins and other eicosanoids in insects: biological significance. Annual Review Of Entomology. 51:25-44.

Interpretive Summary: Insects exert tremendous damage to human food production and health. There are serious environmental problems associated with use of classical insecticides to control insect pests. New, environmentally sustainable insect management strategies are necessary. I am working on the logical discovery of methods to disable insect immune defenses to infection so the efficiency of biological control agents can be markedly improved. My work has revealed the actions of prostaglandins in insect cellular defenses to bacterial infections. Prostaglandins are signals that mediate defenses. This is important because inhibiting prostaglandin production in infected insects disables insect defenses and the insects die from infections. The idea of disabling insect defenses has exciting possibilities. The selective inhibition of insect prostaglandin production during infection has potential for improved strategies in biological control of pest insects. This paper describes the chemical structures and production of prostaglandins, then considers the roles of prostaglandins in insect biology. Finally it covers the possible use of prostaglandin in biological control systems. Scientists doing research to improve biological control methods will be the first beneficiaries of this work. As possibilities develop, agricultural producers and people who use their products will benefit.

Technical Abstract: Prostaglandins and other eicosanoids are oxygenated metabolites of certain polyunsaturated fatty acids. These compounds are well known for their important actions in mammalian physiology and disease. Recent work has revealed the presence and biological actions of eicosanoids in insects and many other invertebrate animals. In insects, eicosanoids have been found to mediate cellular immunity to microbial and metazoan challenge. Notably, some infectious organisms secrete factors responsible for impairing host insect immune reactions by inhibiting biosynthesis of eicosanoids. Eicosanoids also act in insect reproductive biology, in ion transport physiology and in fever response to infection as well as in protein exocytosis in tick salivary glands. Aside from on-going actions in homeostasis, certain eicosanoid actions occur at crucial points in insect life histories, such as during infectious challenge and important events in reproduction.