Identification and characterization of functional aquaporin water channel protein from alimentary tract of whitefly, Bemisia tabaci

L. G. Mathew, E. M. Campbell, A. J. Yool, J. A. Fabrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)


Some hemipteran xylem and phloem-feeding insects have evolved specialized alimentary structures or filter chambers that rapidly transport water for excretion or osmoregulation. In the whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, mass movement of water through opposing alimentary tract tissues within the filter chamber is likely facilitated by an aquaporin protein. B. tabaci aquaporin-1 (BtAQP1) possesses characteristic aquaporin topology and conserved pore-forming residues found in water-specific aquaporins. As predicted for an integral transmembrane protein, recombinant BtAQP1 expressed in cultured insect cells localized within the plasma membrane. BtAQP1 is primarily expressed in early instar nymphs and adults, where in adults it is localized in the filter chamber and hindgut. Xenopus oocytes expressing BtAQP1 were water permeable and mercury-sensitive, both characteristics of classical water-specific aquaporins. These data support the hypothesis that BtAQP1 is a water transport protein within the specialized filter chamber of the alimentary tract and functions to translocate water across tissues for maintenance of osmotic pressure and/or excretion of excess dietary fluid.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-190
Number of pages13
JournalInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011



  • aquaporin
  • Bemisia tabaci
  • filter chamber
  • whitefly
  • hemiptera
  • phloem sap

Cite this