Insects rely on specialized accessory pulsatile organs (APOs), also known as auxiliary hearts, to propel hemolymph into their antennae. In most insects, this is accomplished via the pulsations of a pair of ampulla located in the head, each of which propels hemolymph across an antenna via an antennal vessel. Once at the distal end of the appendage, hemolymph returns to the head via the antennal hemocoel. Although the structure of the antennal hearts has been elucidated in various insect orders, their hormonal modulation has only been studied in cockroaches and other hemimetabolous insects within the superorder Polyneoptera, where proctolin and FMRFamide-like peptides accelerate the contraction rate of these auxiliary hearts. Here, we assessed the hormonal modulation of the antennal APOs of mosquitoes, a group of holometabolous (Endopterygota) insects within the order Diptera. We show that crustacean cardioactive peptide (CCAP), FMRFamide and SALDKNFMRFamide increase the contraction rate of the antennal APOs and the heart of Anopheles gambiae. Both antennal hearts are synchronously responsive to these neuropeptides, but their contractions are asynchronous with the contraction of the heart. Furthermore, we show that these neuropeptides increase the velocity and maximum acceleration of hemolymph within the antennal space, suggesting that each contraction is also more forceful. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating that hormones of a holometabolous insect modulate the contraction dynamics of an auxiliary heart, and the first report that shows that the hormones of any insect accelerate the velocity of hemolymph in the antennal space.
The authors declare no competing or financial interests.
J.F.H. conceived the study. J.M.S., T.H.J. and J.F.H. designed the experiments. J.M.S. and T.H.J. performed the experiments. J.M.S., T.H.J., S.C.M. and J.F.H. analyzed the data. J.F.H. wrote the manuscript.
This research was funded by US National Science Foundation (NSF) [grant IOS-1257936 to J.F.H.], Vanderbilt University Littlejohn fellowships [to J.F.H. and J.M.S.] and a fellowship from the Vanderbilt University Summer Research Program (VUSRP) [to J.M.S.]. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of this manuscript.
- Received April 11, 2016.
- Accepted May 25, 2016.
- © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd