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Frontalin pheromone biosynthesis in the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae, and the role of isoprenyl diphosphate synthases
Christopher I. Keeling, Christine C. Chiu, Tidiane Aw, Maria Li, Hannah Henderson, Claus Tittiger, Hong-Biao Weng, Gary J. Blomquist and Joerg Bohlmann
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 110, No. 47 (November 19, 2013), pp. 18838-18843
Published by: National Academy of Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23756805
Page Count: 6
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The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) is the most destructive pest of western North American pine forests. Adult males produce frontalin, an eight-carbon antiaggregation pheromone, via the mevalonate pathway, as part of several pheromones that initiate and modulate the mass attack of host trees. Frontalin acts as a pheromone, attractant, or kairomone in most Dendroctonus species, other insects, and even elephants. 6-Methylhept-6-en-2-one, a frontalin precursor, is hypothesized to originate from 10-carbon geranyl diphosphate (GPP), 15-carbon farnesyl diphosphate (FPP), or 20-carbon geranylgeranyl diphosphate (GGPP) via a dioxygenase- or cytochrome P450-mediated carbon—carbon bond cleavage. To investigate the role of isoprenyl diphosphate synthases in pheromone biosynthesis, we characterized a bifunctional GPP/FPP synthase and a GGPP synthase in the mountain pine beetle. The ratio of GPP to FPP produced by the GPP/FPP synthase was highly dependent on the ratio of the substrates isopentenyl diphosphate and dimethylallyl diphosphate used in the assay. Transcript levels in various tissues and life stages suggested that GGPP rather than GPP or FPP is used as a precursor to frontalin. Reduction of transcript levels by RNA interference of the isoprenyl diphosphate synthases identified GGPP synthase as having the largest effect on frontalin production, suggesting that frontalin is derived from a 20-carbon isoprenoid precursor rather than from the 10- or 15-carbon precursors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America © 2013 National Academy of Sciences