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Functional characterization of sex pheromone receptors in the purple stem borer, Sesamia inferens (Walker)

Zhang, Y.‐N., Zhang, J., Yan, S.‐W., Chang, H.‐T., Liu, Y., Wang, G.‐R., Dong, S.‐L.
Insect molecular biology 2014 v.23 no.5 pp. 611-620
Sesamia inferens, Xenopus, antennae, chemoreceptors, complementary DNA, males, moths, oocytes, phylogeny, sex pheromones
The sex pheromone communication system in moths is highly species‐specific and extremely sensitive, and pheromone receptors (PRs) are thought to be the most important factors in males. In the present study, three full‐length cDNAs encoding PRs were characterized from Sesamia inferens antennae. These three PRs were all male‐specific in expression, but their relative expression levels were very different; SinfOR29 was 17‐ to 23‐fold higher than the other two PRs. Phylogenetic and motif pattern analyses showed that these three PRs were allocated to different PR subfamilies with different motif patterns. Functional analysis using the heterologous expression system of Xenopus oocytes demonstrated that SinfOR29 specifically and sensitively responded to the major pheromone component, Z11‐16:OAc [concentration for 50% of maximal effect (EC₅₀) = 3.431 × 10⁻⁷ M], while SinfOR21 responded robustly to a minor pheromone component Z11‐16:OH (EC₅₀ = 1.087 × 10⁻⁶ M). SinfOR27, however, displayed no response to any of the three pheromone components, but, interestingly, it was sensitive to a non‐sex pheromone component Z9,E12‐14:OAc (EC₅₀ = 1.522 × 10⁻⁶ M). Our results provide insight into the molecular mechanisms of specificity and sensitivity of the sex pheromone communication system in moths.