The major effort in this laboratory is to determine how hormones control growth and developmental processes, using insect molting and metamorphosis as the models. To this end, we have been investigating the endocrinology of the silkworm, Bombyx mori, using techniques ranging from microscopy to molecular biology. Present studies include isolation and purification of new insect growth hormones, investigation of interaction among ecdysteroids (steroid molting hormones), prothoracictropic hormones and juvenile hormones (sesquiterpene).
In addition, considerable effort over the last several years has been dedicated to the controlling mechanism regulating insect molting and metamorphosis and the action of neuropeptides by examining second messengers and ecdysteroid secretion. The latter investigations have shed new light on the means by which ecdysteroidogenesis in the prothoracic glands may be regulated through different prothoracictropic hormone signal transduction during development. Our attention is currently focused on the purification of insect growth hormones and some autocrine growth factors.