A water-specific aquaporin involved in aphid osmoregulation

AJ Shakesby, IS Wallace, HV Isaacs, Jeremy Pritchard, DM Roberts, AE Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

153 Citations (Scopus)


The osmotic pressure of plant phloem sap is generally higher than that of insect body fluids. Water cycling from the distal to proximal regions of the gut is believed to contribute to the osmoregulation of aphids and other phloem-feeding insects, with the high flux of water mediated by a membrane-associated aquaporin. A putative aquaporin referred to as ApAQP1 was identified by RT-PCR of RNA isolated from the guts of pea aphids Acyrthosiphon pisum. The ApAQP1 protein has a predicted molecular mass 28.94 kDa. Molecular modeling suggests that ApAQP1 has the general aquaporin topology and possesses the conserved pore properties of water-specific aquaporins. When expressed in Xenopus oocytes, ApAQP1 showed the hallmarks of aquaporin-mediated water transport, including an 18-fold increase in the osmotic water permeability of the oolemma, a reduced activation energy, and inhibition of elevated water transport activity by Hg ions. The ApAQP1 transcript was localised to the stomach and distal intestine, and RNAi-mediated knockdown of its expression resulted in elevated osmotic pressure of the haemolymph. Taken together, these data suggest that ApAQP1 contributes to the molecular basis of water cycling in the aphid gut. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Aquaporin
  • Aphid
  • Phloem sap
  • Filter chamber
  • Osmoregulation
  • Hemiptera


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