Journal or Book Title
Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Most moths utilize sex pheromones released by the female to attract a mate. Females produce the sex pheromone in the pheromone gland in a biosynthetic pathway which consists of several key enzymes. Fatty acyl-CoA reductase is one of the key enzymes, which catalyzes the conversion of fatty acyl-CoA to the corresponding alcohol, playing an important role in producing the final proportion of each pheromone component. In Helicoverpa zea, (Z)-11-hexadecenal is the major sex pheromone component in female pheromone glands and previously a large amount of hexadecanal was also found in female and male tarsi. In our previous study, we compared the transcriptome between pheromone glands and tarsi and found 20 fatty acyl-CoA reductases in both tissues. In this study, we functionally characterized four FARs which were expressed at high levels according to the transcriptome of pheromone glands and tarsi. Fatty acyl-CoA reductase 1 was homologous to other moth pheromone gland specific fatty acyl-CoA reductases, and it was also present in male tarsi. Functional expression in yeast cells indicates that only fatty acyl-CoA reductase 1 was able to produce fatty alcohols. In addition, a decreased mRNA level of fatty acyl-CoA reductase 1 in female pheromone glands and male tarsi by RNAi knockdown caused a significant decrease in the production of (Z)-11-hexadecenal in pheromone glands and hexadecanal in male tarsi. This study is the first to demonstrate the direct function of a fatty acyl-CoA reductase in male tarsi and also confirms its role in sex pheromone biosynthesis in H. zea.
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Dou, Xiaoyi; Zhang, Aijun; and Jurenka, Russell, "Functional identification of fatty acyl reductases in female pheromone gland and tarsi of the corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea" (2020). Entomology Publications. 564.