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An antennae‐enriched carboxylesterase from Spodoptera exigua displays degradation activity in both plant volatiles and female sex pheromones

He, P., Zhang, Y‐N., Li, Z‐Q., Yang, K., Zhu, J‐Y., Liu, S‐J., Dong, S‐L.
Insect molecular biology 2014 v.23 no.4 pp. 475-486
Spodoptera exigua, carbon, carboxylesterase, cholinesterase, eclosion, enzyme activity, gene expression, genes, host plants, messenger RNA, metabolism, moths, pH, sex pheromones
Carboxyl/cholinesterase (CCE) is a large gene family of diverse functions, but in insects its function with respect to catabolism of sex pheromone components and plant volatiles is not well understood. In the present study, we cloned and functionally characterized one putative odorant‐degrading enzyme (ODE) of the CCE family, SexiCXE14, from Spodoptera exigua. The tissue‐temporal expression pattern revealed that the mRNA level of SexiCXE14 is antennae‐enriched, sex equivalent and peaks at 3 days after moth eclosion. Functional study using the recombinant enzyme determined that SexiCXE14 has high degrading activity (Vₘₐₓ) to host plant volatiles, suggesting its role in degradation of these volatiles. In addition, SexiCXE14 may also play a role in the degradation of sex pheromone components, as the Vₘₐₓ and affinity parameter (Kₘ) values with the sex pheromones are similar to those of reported pheromone degrading enzymes (PDEs). Further analysis of the relationship between substrate structure and enzymatic activity demonstrated that carbon chain length is a major influential factor, while the number of double bonds also affects the enzymatic activity. In addition, SexiCXE14 displays lower activity at acidic pH levels (pH 5.0) than in neutral conditions (pH 6.5). By characterizing this new ODE the present study provides insights in understanding of the high sensitivity of the moth olfactory system.