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Adenylate kinase 2 (AK2) promotes cell proliferation in insect development

Ru-Ping Chen1, Chun-Yan Liu1, Hong-Lian Shao1, Wei-Wei Zheng12, Jin-Xing Wang1 and Xiao-Fan Zhao1*

Author Affiliations

1 The Key Laboratory of Plant Cell Engineering and Germplasm Innovation, Ministry of Education; Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Cells and Developmental Biology, School of Life Sciences, Shandong University, Shandong, Jinan, 250100, China

2 Hubei Key Laboratory of Insect Resource Application and Sustainable Pest Control and Institute of Urban and Horticultural Pests, College of Plant Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Hubei, Wuhan, 430070, China

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BMC Molecular Biology 2012, 13:31  doi:10.1186/1471-2199-13-31

Published: 28 September 2012



Adenylate kinase 2 (AK2) is a phosphotransferase that catalyzes the reversible reaction 2ADP(GDP) ↔ ATP(GTP) + AMP and influences cellular energy homeostasis. However, the role of AK2 in regulating cell proliferation remains unclear because AK2 has been reported to be involved in either cell proliferation or cell apoptosis in different cell types of various organisms.


This study reports AK2 promotion of cell proliferation using the lepidopteran insect Helicoverpa armigera and its epidermal cell line HaEpi as models. Western blot analysis indicates that AK2 constitutively expresses in various tissues during larval development. Immunocytochemistry analysis indicates that AK2 localizes in the mitochondria. The recombinant expressed AK2 in E. coli promotes cell growth and viability of HaEpi cell line by 3-(4, 5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. AK2 knockdown in larvae by RNA interference causes larval growth defects, including body weight decrease and development delay. AK2 knockdown in larvae also decreases the number of circulating haemocytes. The mechanism for such effects might be the suppression of gene transcription involved in insect development caused by AK2 knockdown.


These results show that AK2 regulates cell growth, viability, and proliferation in insect growth and development.

Helicoverpa armigera; Adenylate kinase 2 (AK2); Cell growth and viability; RNA interference