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Functional characterization of four sex pheromone receptors in the newly discovered maize pest Athetis lepigone

Zhang, Ya-Nan, Du, Li-Xiao, Xu, Ji-Wei, Wang, Bing, Zhang, Xiao-Qing, Yan, Qi, Wang, Guirong
Journal of insect physiology 2019 v.113 pp. 59-66
Athetis, Xenopus, acetates, chemoreceptors, corn, females, foraging, imagos, insect physiology, insecticides, males, median effective concentration, moths, odor compounds, odorant receptors, oocytes, oviposition, pests, sex pheromones
Chemoreception systems play a crucial role in regulating key behavioral activities of insects, such as mating, oviposition, and foraging. Odorant receptors (ORs) trigger the transduction of chemical signals into electric signals, and are involved in the corresponding responses associated with odorant guidance behaviors. Pheromone receptors (PRs) of male adult insects are generally thought to function in the recognition of female sex pheromones, and are also important molecular targets for the development of behavioral inhibitors and insecticides. In this study, we successfully expressed and functionally analyzed four AlepPRs of Athetis lepigone in Xenopus oocytes using the two-electrode voltage-clamp method. The results demonstrated that AlepOR3 responded exclusively to the sex pheromone compound of A. lepigone, (Z)-7-dodecenyl acetate (Z7-12:Ac) (EC50 = 8.830 × 10−6 M), while AlepOR4 responded to all five compounds [(Z7-12:Ac, (Z)-8-dodecenyl acetate (Z8-12:Ac), (Z)-9-tetradecenyl acetate (Z9-14:Ac), (Z,E)-9,11-tetradecadienyl acetate (Z9,E11-14:Ac), and (Z,E)-9,12-tetradecadienyl acetate (Z9,E12-14:Ac)] and had a higher response to Z9-14:Ac (EC50 = 2.243 × 10−5 M) than to Z7-12:Ac. However, AlepOR6 displayed a significantly higher response to a non-pheromone of A. lepigone, Z9,E12-14:Ac (EC50 = 7.145 × 10−6 M), than to the other four compounds. AlepOR5 displayed no responses to any of the pheromone compounds of A. lepigone, but responded exclusively to (Z)-11-hexadecenyl acetate (Z11-16:Ac) (EC50 = 7.870 × 10−6 M), a sex pheromone compound of other Noctuidae species. These findings can help explore the molecular mechanisms of sex pheromone recognition in A. lepigone and other moths, and develop broad-spectrum behavioral inhibitors and insecticides against different maize moths in future.