Insect endoparasitoids modulate the host physiology through the injection of maternal-derived substances into the host, inducing physiological and hormonal changes in the host's internal environment to benefit parasitoid development. These changes are direct to control host development and regulate nutrient availability to the developing parasitoid, and they are synchronized with parasitoid development. Eggs of some of these parasitoids have low yolk content and require nutrients from the host hemolymph to initiate and complete embryogenesis. We report changes in the amino acid composition and protein profile of the host hemolymph of the endoparasitoid Toxoneuron nigriceps, and improved the in vitro culture of pre-germ band stage eggs. The protein profile of parasitized larvae was similar to controls throughout the embryonic development, but total amino acid concentration decreased in the first 2 h after parasitization, significantly increasing in the following hours up to 8 h. Amino acid levels were higher in parasitized larvae from 16 to 28 h after parasitization. Comparison of single amino acids indicated amino acids involved in energy metabolism (Krebs cycle) followed a trend during parasitoid embryogenesis, and their changes were correlated with embryonic development. Improvement in the in vitro development of 6 h-old eggs of T. nigriceps was obtained by adding factors released by the host fat body to the artificial medium, while a cell lysate stimulated embryogenesis and allowed the full development of newly laid eggs in vitro. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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