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The Denholm lab contribute to a new study investigating systemic osmoregulation in beetles

New publication in PNAS.

Beetles are the most diverse animal group on the planet. Physiological adaptations to overcome water stress contribute to their evolutionary success, yet the mechanisms underlying these abilities are not well understood. In this new work, led by Kenneth Halberg and colleagues, we show how a group of brain neurons responds to osmotic disturbance by releasing diuretic hormones that regulate salt and water balance. These hormones bind to their receptor exclusively localized to a unique cell-type in the Malpighian (renal) tubule to modulate fluid secretion and control organismal water loss. This tubule architecture—unique among the insects—provides an important clue to the evolutionary success of the beetles, and to their colonization of an astoundingly wide range of habitats.


The work was published earlier this month in PNAS:

A unique Malpighian tubule architecture in Tribolium castaneum informs the evolutionary origins of systemic osmoregulation in beetles