- The gene that encodes vitellogenin (Vg), the precursor of the major yolk protein, vitellin, is expressed during vitellogenesis in decapod crustaceans. In this study, we sequenced the full-length cDNA from the Pacific white shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei Vg gene (LvVg). This is the first open thelycum penaeid shrimp Vg cDNA to be sequenced. The transcript encodes a 2587 amino acid polypeptide with up to 85% identity to Vg of different penaeid species. Peptide mass fingerprints (PMFs) of the vitelline polypeptides suggest that the predicted endoprotease cleavage site at amino acids 725–728 does indeed undergo cleavage. Five prominent high-density lipoprotein polypeptides of masses 179, 113, 78, 61, and 42 kDa were isolated from vitellogenic ovary, and their PMFs were determined by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) spectrometry. It is likely that these polypeptides are all products of the LvVg gene. Removal of the X-organ sinus gland complex (XO-SG), which secretes the neurohormones that control the endocrine system regulating molt and reproduction, can induce both these processes. During the course of a number of molt cycles in induced sub-adult females, periodic ovarian growth and resorption were observed. Ovary growth correlated with LvVg expression in both the hepatopancreas and the ovary. Expression in ovaries of induced intermolt–early premolt females was significantly higher compared to all other sub-groups. Expression in ovaries of induced females was significantly higher compared to hepatopancreas at all molt cycle stages. Periodicity of molt and vitellogenesis in endocrinologically induced sub-adult shrimps may serve as a model to study alternate regulation of gene expression during these two processes.