Mechanisms of nitrogen excretion in insects
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Avoiding the toxic effects of ammonia derived from catabolism of proteins and nucleic acids typically involves synthesis of the less soluble compound uric acid in insects, although some species which are not water stressed excrete ammonia directly. Some dipterans metabolize uric acid further to allantoin or urea. Uric acid plays diverse roles as a nitrogenous waste, nitrogen store, pigment, antioxidant and possibly a signaling molecule. Multiple transporters are implicated in urate transport, including members of the ABC and SLC families. Excretion of ammonia by the Malpighian tubules, hindgut, or anal papillae involves multiple transporters, including Na+/K+-ATPase, Rhesus glycoproteins, ammonia transporters (AMTs) and possibly a hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated K+ channel (HCN).
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