In vivo and in vitro effects of the nonsteroidal ecdysteroid agonist tebufenozide on cuticle formation in Spodoptera exigua: an ultrastructural approach
Smagghe, G.; Vinuela, E.; Budia, F.; Degheele, D.
Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology 33(2): 121-134
To evaluate the ecdysteroid-like mode of action of tebufenozide (RH-5992), the effects on the fine structure of the integument in last- and third-instar larvae of the beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua, and on cuticle formation in cultured imaginal wing discs, were studied. After 3 h of treatment with tebufenozide, the first signs of a normal moult were observed in treated larvae. A few hours later, ecdysial space formation and secretion of a new epicuticle were started. Furthermore, the new cuticle was incomplete in treated larvae; the new procuticle was absent or contained only a very low number of lamellae. In addition, epidermal cells showed many vacuoles and symptoms of degeneration with increase in time. Only a few lamellae of the old procuticle were digested, and normal ecdysis was inhibited which led to the presence of a double cuticle within 24-48 h after treatment. Similarly, cultured discs were stimulated to deposit a new cuticle within 12 h after cultivation in a medium containing tebufenozide. Our observations in treated S. exigua larvae on the one hand and in imaginal discs cultured with tebufenozide on the other hand are indicative of a hyperecdysteroid action, and confirm that the moult accelerating mode of action of tebufenozide resulted in a forced, untimely synthesis of cuticle by activation of epidermal or epithelial cells, and that its ecdysis inhibitory activity is mediated by its effect on post-apolysis processes.