Aphids show a high level of phenotypic plasticity, as illustrated by their aptitude to shift their reproduction mode depending on seasons, plant hosts and abiotic factors such as the temperature. However, mechanisms underlying this behavioral plasticity remain largely unknown. A singular adaptive phenotype of a parthenogenetic insect species (Acyrthosiphon pisum) was selected in cold conditions and is characterized by a greenish color. We have reported that the capture of light energy in living aphids results in the photo-induced electron transfer from excited chromophores to acceptor molecules. The redox potentials of molecules involved in this process would be compatible with the reduction of the NAD+ coenzyme. This argues for a role of chromophores as part of an archaic photosynthetic mechanism in insects. Carotenoid synthesis in aphids was directly determined in living insects without extraction procedure by Raman imaging and the analysis was compared between insects raised in distinct environments. In parallel, series of dosage of ATP were performed in order to correlate carotenoid synthesis and metabolism in aphids.
- Valmalette J. C., Dombrovsky A., Brat P., Mertz C., Capovilla M., & Robichon A. (2012). Light- induced electron transfer and ATP synthesis in a carotene synthesizing insect.Scientific Reports2012, 2 / article number 579/ doi : 10.1038/srep00579
- Brat P., Valmalette J.C., Mertz C., de Sousa G., Dombrovsky A., Capovilla M., & Robichon A. (2012). Analysis of carotenoid compounds in aphids by Raman imaging and mass spectrometry. Community Contributed Protocol Exchange 10/10/2012, doi:10.1038/protex.2012.047