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PTEN expression responds to transcription factor POU and regulates p-AKT levels during diapause initiation in the cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera

Song, Zhe, Yang, Yong-Pan, Xu, Wei-Hua
Insect biochemistry and molecular biology 2018 v.100 pp. 48-58
Helicoverpa armigera, diapause, ecdysone, glucose, insects, physiological response, pupae, signal transduction, transcription factors
Diapause is a complex physiological response accompanied by many signaling pathways participating in the process. Previous studies have shown that p-AKT levels in brains of diapause-destined pupae are elevated by ROS, and the activated AKT promotes Glut expression for glucose uptake during diapause entry in Helicoverpa armigera. However, the mechanism by which ROS activate AKT is still unclear. Here, we show that PTEN, a PI3K/p-AKT signaling inhibitor, was significantly lower in the brains of diapause-destined pupae and that p-AKT levels were elevated by a lack of PTEN dephosphorylating PIP3. In addition, POU was identified as a transcription factor that binds to the PTEN promoter and regulates its expression. POU expression was enhanced by ecdysone but suppressed by ROS, suggesting that POU/PTEN plays a central role in responding to ROS signaling and regulating p-AKT levels. These results suggest that ecdysone and ROS participate together in the regulation of insect diapause through downregulation of POU/PTEN, which elevates p-AKT levels.