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Two isoforms of Pepck in Sarcophaga bullata and their distinct expression profiles through development, diapause, and in response to stresses of cold and starvation

Spacht, Drew E., Teets, Nicholas M., Denlinger, David L.
Journal of insect physiology 2018 v.111 pp. 41-46
Sarcophaga bullata, cold, cold stress, diapause, genes, gluconeogenesis, insect physiology, messenger RNA, mitochondria, overwintering, oxaloacetic acid, pupae, pyruvic acid, starvation, sugar alcohols, transcriptomics
Pepck is a metabolic enzyme that participates in gluconeogenesis through the conversion of oxaloacetate into phosphoenol pyruvate. Numerous transcriptomic studies have identified Pepck as a potential key player during diapause and various stresses responses. Here, we describe expression patterns of both cytosolic and mitochondrial isoforms of Pepck throughout development, during diapause, and in response to starvation and cold shock in the flesh fly, Sarcophaga bullata. We cloned full-length transcripts for both Pepck isoforms and observed that expression of both genes varied throughout development. Diapausing pupae have the highest relative expression of both isoforms, suggesting participation in the anticipatory production of sugars and sugar alcohols that occurs during this overwintering stage. In response to acute stress, the cytosolic isoform was upregulated whereas the mitochondrial variant remained unchanged. Cytosolic Pepck was strongly upregulated after 2 h recovery from cold shock and returned to baseline levels within 8 h. In response to 24 h of starvation, the cytosolic isoform was similarly upregulated and returned to control levels after 24 h of recovery. Acute stress is known to incur a metabolic cost, and Pepck could be a key player in this response. Although it remains unclear why there is such a dramatic divergence in the expression of the two isoforms, the distinction suggests specific roles for the two isoforms that depend on the developmental status of the fly and the stress conditions to which it is exposed.