Introduction to the Special Issue on Insect Epithelial Transport
Journal of Insect Physiology
It gives us great pleasure to introduce this special issue in honor of William (Bill) Harvey, based on the proceedings of a symposium that was held at the 2011 Society for Experimental Biology annual meeting in Glasgow, UK. The issue contains an amazing breadth of review and original research articles on a diverse set of insect experimental systems, which is a fitting tribute to Bill, who has touched virtually all aspects of insect transport physiology over the course of his long career. The fact that Bill is a co-author on two original papers and one perspective in this issue shows that his career is far from over, and we can look forward to many more discoveries and insights from his laboratory in the years to come. The issue begins with a very nice reflection on Bill’s career from Julian Dow, and a summary of the symposium by Klaus Beyenbach, who, together with Julian Dow and Helmut Wieczorek, organized the sessions in Bill’s honor in Glasgow. Following the preface are a set of timely reviews including two that cover areas near and dear to Bill’s heart: amino acid transport and the V-ATPase. Moreover, the reviews include new insights and paradigms for arthropod epithelia regarding the neural control of transport, previously underappreciated cells, and nitrogen handling. A final review on the role of the Malpighian tubules in Drosophila immune/stress responses demonstrates that these transport epithelia have functions far beyond the transport of solutes and water. Building upon the themes covered in the reviews, the original research articles start with a focus on the physiology of the whole insect or of an entire epithelial tissue and then proceed to studies that attempt to decipher the molecular mechanisms responsible for mediating and regulating epithelial transport. These papers use a wide variety of approaches that include molecular cloning and functional characterization in heterologous expression systems, functional genetics, transcriptomics, immunochemistry, and pharmacology. Taken as a whole, this special issue reinforces the notion that integrative approachesare necessary to fully elucidate the complex physiology taking place within insect epithelia, and that is a message with which, we are sure, Bill would wholeheartedly agree. We would like to thank David Denlinger for his guidance in putting this issue together, Marie Bontempo for her expert editorial assistance, and all of the ad hoc referees for delivering constructive and ‘on-time’ reviews of the manuscripts.