Course detail

LET5803 - Insect Physiology and Biochemistry

Credit hours

In-class work
per week
per week
15 weeks
120 hours

Fernando Luis Consoli

Instruct and capacitate students to understand and develop investigations devoted understand insect development and physiological processes (functional), focusing not only on comparisons with other organims, but also on insect potential and adaptability to serve as a model for the elucidation of basic principals in general physiology. It is also an aim to have students introduced to the physiological and molceular responses of insects to a number of abiotic and biotic stimuli that can alter the patterns of insect development, general metabolism and behavior.

Embryogenesis (morphogenesis, genetic control of embryogenesis, segmentation genes, homeotic genes and organogenesis); Tegument (structure, ecdysis, production of the new cuticle, sclerotization and chemical composition of the cuticle, mineralization); Hormones and Development (neurosecretory cells and prothoracicotropic hormone (PTTH), prothroracic glands and ecdysteroids; corpora allata and juvenil hormone, hormone transport, regulation of hormone levels, hormone mode of action); Post-embryonic development (eclosion, immature development, metamorphosis, hormone control of post-embryonic development, evolution of metamorphosis, poliphenism, polimorphism, diapause); Neurobiology 1 (central nervous system, brain, ventral glanglia, control of behavior: motor programs, nervous cell response to stimulus, physiological basis of neural response, propagation of action potential); Neurobiology 2 (physiology and biochemistry of synapsis, acetylcholine-mediated synapsis, electrical synapsis, neurosecretory products and their function); Nutrition, alimentary system and digestion (nutrient balance, nutrient selection, qualitative nutrition, evolution of the digestive tract, feeding habits, structure of the gut, cell types of the midgut, digestive enzymes, countercurrent flux in the midgut lumen, nutrient absorption, morphology and physiology of the digestive tract of the major orders of insects); Excretion (Malpighian tubes, cryptonephrideal system, ultrastructure of Malpighian tubes, nitrogen excretion and production of primary urine, selective reabsorption, excretion system and maintenance of homeostasis, non-excretory functions of the Malpighian tubes, detoxification); Fat body and insect metabolism (structure and fucntion of fat bodies, regulation of gene expression: nutrients,hormones, metabolism of lipids and carbohydrates, protein metabolism, origin and release sites and regulation of metabolic hormones, mode of action of metabolic hormones, clearence of hormones); Circulatory system (embryogenesis of the circulatory system and hemocytes, sructure and functioning of the blood vessel, accessory pulsatile organs, hemocytes, hemolymph, hemoglobines); Muscular system and intermediary metabolism in flight activity (structure, morphological adaptations/changes during development, mechanisms of muscle contraction, allary muscles and flight, energy requirement, nutrient reserve - carbohydrates and their metabolism, metabolic pathways in sustaining intense flight activity); Respiration (morphogenesis of the tracheal system and spiracles, structure of the tracheal system, tracheal connections to tissues and organs, ventillation and diffusion of gases, continuous vs. discontinuous gas exchange, gas exchange in aquatic insects, respiration in endoparasitoids, embryonic respiration, non-respiratory functions of the trachea); Sensorial systems (receptors: classification and localization, mechanorecepts, chemoreceptors, vision and light receptors); Exocrine glands and chemical communication (exocrine glands: types and functions, classes of semiochemicals, olfaction - importance, olfaction - receptors, pheromones - chemical characteristics, pheromones - detection, perception and signal transport, processing of the chemical information, hormonal control of the synthesis and release of pheromones); Reproduction (female reproductive system, production of the vitelline membrane, coriogenesis, gas exchange in eggs, male reproductive system, mechanisms of sex determination).

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Chapman, R.F. 1998. Insect structure and function. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 770p.
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Nijhout, H.F. 1998. Insect hormones. Princeton University Press, Princeton. 267p.
Rogers, S.M., Newland, P.L. 2003. The neurobiology of taste in insects. Advances in Insect Physiology 31, 141-2004.
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