Crustacean molt-inhibiting hormone: Structure, function, and cellular mode of action

Teruaki Nakatsuji, Chi Ying Lee, R. Douglas Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

83 Citations (Scopus)


In Crustacea, secretion of ecdysteroid molting hormones by Y-organs is regulated, at least in part, by molt-inhibiting hormone (MIH), a polypeptide neurohormone produced by neurosecretory cells of the eyestalks. This article reviews current knowledge of MIH, with particular emphasis on recent findings regarding the (a) structure of the MIH peptide and gene, (b) levels of MIH in eyestalks and hemolymph, (c) cellular mechanism of action of MIH, and (d) responsiveness of Y-organs to MIH. At least 26 MIH/MIH-like sequences have been directly determined by protein sequencing or deduced from cloned cDNA. Recent studies reveal the existence of multiple forms of MIH/MIH-like molecules among penaeids and raise the possibility that molecular polymorphism may exist more generally among MIH (type II) peptides. The hemolymphatic MIH titer has been determined for two species, a crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) and a crab (Carcinus maenas). The data are dissimilar and additional studies are needed. Composite data indicate cellular signaling pathways involving cGMP, cAMP, or both may play a role in MIH-induced suppression of ecdysteroidogenesis. Data from the two species studied in our laboratories (P. clarkii and Callinectes sapidus) strongly favor cGMP as the physiologically relevant second messenger. Ligand-binding studies show an MIH receptor exists in Y-organ plasma membranes, but the MIH receptor has not been isolated or fully characterized for any species. Such studies are critical to understanding the cellular mechanism by which MIH regulates ecdysteroidogenesis. Rates of ecdysteroid synthesis appear also to be influenced by stage-specific changes in the responsiveness of Y-organs to MIH. The changes in responsiveness result, at least in part, from changes in glandular phosphodiesterase (PDE) activity. The PDE isotype (PDE1) present in Y-organs of C. sapidus is calcium/calmodulin dependent. Thus, calcium may regulate ecdysteroidogenesis through activation of glandular PDE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Feb


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology

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