JOURNAL ARTICLE

Coordinated gene expression for pheromone biosynthesis in the pine engraver beetle, Ips pini (Coleoptera: Scolytidae)

Christopher I Keeling, Gary J Blomquist, Claus Tittiger
Die Naturwissenschaften 2004, 91 (7): 324-8
15257386
In several pine bark beetle species, phloem feeding induces aggregation pheromone production to coordinate a mass attack on the host tree. Male pine engraver beetles, Ips pini (Say) (Coleoptera: Scolytidae), produce the monoterpenoid pheromone component ipsdienol de novo via the mevalonate pathway in the anterior midgut upon feeding. To understand how pheromone production is regulated in this tissue, we used quantitative real-time PCR to examine feeding-induced changes in gene expression of seven mevalonate pathway genes: acetoacetyl-coenzyme A thiolase, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A synthase, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase, mevalonate 5-diphosphate decarboxylase, isopentenyl-diphosphate isomerase, geranyl-diphosphate synthase (GPPS), and farnesyl-diphosphate synthase (FPPS). In males, expression of all these genes significantly increased upon feeding. In females, the expression of the early mevalonate pathway genes (up to and including the isomerase) increased significantly, but the expression of the later genes (GPPS and FPPS) was unaffected or decreased upon feeding. Thus, feeding coordinately regulates expression of the mevalonate pathway genes necessary for pheromone biosynthesis in male, but not female, midguts. Furthermore, basal mRNA levels were 5- to 41-fold more abundant in male midguts compared to female midguts. This is the first report of coordinated regulation of mevalonate pathway genes in an invertebrate model consistent with their sex-specific role in de novo pheromone biosynthesis.

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