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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Excretion of alkaloids by malpighian tubules of insects.

Nicotine is transported at high rates by Malpighian tubules of larvae of Manduca sexta, Pieris brassicae and Rhodnius prolixus and the transport persists in the absence of alkaloid from the diet. In the fluid-secreting portion of Rhodnius tubules this transport is not coupled to ion transport, nor is it dependent on the physiological state of the animal. The transport, which can occur against a steep electrochemical gradient, shows saturation kinetics with a maximal rate of 700 pmol. min-1 per tubule and is half saturated at 2-3 mM. Nicotine transport independent of ion movements also occurs in the lower resorptive parts of Rhodnius tubules. Both portions of Rhodnius tubules can transport morphine and atropine. These alkaloids and nicotine compete with one naother and are presumed to be carried by the smae transport system. Nicotine transport in Rhodnius was unaffected by organic anions, such as amaranth and benzyl penicillin, or by the organic anion transport inhibitor, probenecid. Fluid secretion in 5-HT-stimulated tubules was reduced by atropine and nicotine, probably by blocking the 5-HT receptors. The Malpighian tubules of adult Calliphora erythrocephala and Musca domestica remove nicotine from bathing solutions, an unknown metabolic accumulating in the tubules. Adult P. brassicae and M. sexta do not exhibit transport of nicotine by their Malpighian tubules.[1]


  1. Excretion of alkaloids by malpighian tubules of insects. Maddrell, S.H., Gardiner, B.O. J. Exp. Biol. (1976) [Pubmed]
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