The Role of N,N,N-Trimethylglycine in Oviposition of Eurema mandarina on Albizia julibrissin

Toshiki Ohashi, Shinji Ohta, Hisashi Ômura
Journal of Chemical Ecology 2019 March 18
The common grass yellow Eurema mandarina (Lepidoptera: Pieridae) uses the silk tree Albizia julibrissin (Fabaceae) as a primary host in Japan. We previously reported that D-pinitol, a cyclitol found in fresh leaves of A. julibrissin, solely elicits moderate oviposition responses from females. However, the aqueous neutral/amphoteric fraction of the fresh leaf extract containing D-pinitol weakly induces oviposition. Moreover, the aqueous neutral/amphoteric/basic fraction was significantly more active than the neutral/amphoteric fraction in eliciting responses, indicating that some basic compounds are involved in stimulating oviposition. High-resolution mass spectrometry and proton nuclear magnetic resonance measurements revealed that the aqueous basic faction contains N,N,N-trimethylglycine (trivial name: glycine betaine) in alkali metal salt form. The average concentration of this quaternary ammonium compound in fresh leaves was estimated to be 0.012% w/w in high performance liquid chromatography analyses. The authentic N,N,N-trimethylglycine induced oviposition at concentrations greater than 0.001% (w/v) and slightly enhanced female responses to the aqueous neutral fraction and authentic D-pinitol. However, its analogues, N,N-dimethylglycine, N-methylglycine, and glycine as well as its precursor choline were inactive. These results demonstrate that N,N,N-trimethylglycine, together with D-pinitol, serves as an stimulant of E. mandarina for oviposition on the leaves of A. julibrissin.

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