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      Pheromone Autodetection: Evidence and Implications


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          Olfactory communication research with insects utilizing sex pheromones has focused on the effects of pheromones on signal receivers. Early pheromone detection studies using the silkworm moth, Bombyx mori L., and Saturniids led to the assumption that emitters, especially females, are unable to detect their own pheromone. Pheromone anosmia, i.e., the inability of females to detect their conspecific sex pheromone, was often assumed, and initially little attention was paid to female behaviors that may result from autodetection, i.e., the ability of females to detect their sex pheromone. Detection of conspecific pheromone plumes from nearby females may provide information to improve chances of mating success and progeny survival. Since the first documented example in 1972, numerous occurrences of autodetection have been observed and verified in field and laboratory studies. We summarize here a significant portion of research relating to autodetection. Electrophysiological and behavioral investigations, as well as expression patterns of proteins involved in pheromone autodetection are included. We discuss problems inherent in defining a boundary between sex and aggregation pheromones considering the occurrence of autodetection, and summarize hypothesized selection pressures favoring autodetection. Importance of including autodetection studies in future work is emphasized by complications arising from a lack of knowledge combined with expanding the use of pheromones in agriculture.

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          Pheromone binding and inactivation by moth antennae.

          The antennae of male silk moths are extremely sensitive to the female sex pheromone such that a male moth can find a female up to 4.5 km away. This remarkable sensitivity is due to both the morphological and biochemical design of these antennae. Along the branches of the plumose antennae are the sensilla trichodea, each consisting of a hollow cuticular hair containing two unbranched dendrites bathed in a fluid, the receptor lymph ,3. The dendrites and receptor lymph are isolated from the haemolymph by a barrier of epidermal cells which secreted the cuticular hair. Pheromone molecules are thought to diffuse down 100 A-wide pore tubules through the cuticular wall and across the receptor lymph space to receptors located in the dendritic membrane. To prevent the accumulation of residual stimulant and hence sensory adaptation, the pheromone molecules are subsequently inactivated in an apparent two-step process of rapid 'early inactivation' followed by much slower enzymatic degradation. The biochemistry involved in this sequence of events is largely unknown. We report here the identification of three proteins which interact with the pheromone of the wild silk moth Antheraea polyphemus: a pheromone-binding protein and a pheromone-degrading esterase, both uniquely located in the pheromone-sensitive sensilla; and a second esterase common to all cuticular tissues except the sensilla.
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            Identification and functional characterization of a sex pheromone receptor in the silkmoth Bombyx mori.

            Sex pheromones released by female moths are detected with high specificity and sensitivity in the olfactory sensilla of antennae of conspecific males. Bombykol in the silkmoth Bombyx mori was the first sex pheromone to be identified. Here we identify a male-specific G protein-coupled olfactory receptor gene, B. mori olfactory receptor 1 (BmOR-1), that appears to encode a bombykol receptor. The BmOR-1 gene is located on the Z sex chromosome, has an eight-exon/seven-intron structure, and exhibits male-specific expression in the pheromone receptor neurons of male moth antenna during late pupal and adult stages. Bombykol stimulation of Xenopus laevis oocytes expressing BmOR-1 and BmGalphaq elicited robust dose-dependent inward currents on two-electrode voltage clamp recordings, demonstrating that the binding of bombykol to BmOR-1 leads to the activation of a BmGalphaq-mediated signaling cascade. Antennae of female moths infected with BmOR-1-recombinant baculovirus showed electrophysiological responses to bombykol but not to bombykal. These results provide evidence that BmOR-1 is a G protein-coupled sex pheromone receptor that recognizes bombykol.
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              Pheromone production in bark beetles.

              The first aggregation pheromone components from bark beetles were identified in 1966 as a mixture of ipsdienol, ipsenol and verbenol. Since then, a number of additional components have been identified as both aggregation and anti-aggregation pheromones, with many of them being monoterpenoids or derived from monoterpenoids. The structural similarity between the major pheromone components of bark beetles and the monoterpenes found in the host trees, along with the association of monoterpenoid production with plant tissue, led to the paradigm that most if not all bark beetle pheromone components were derived from host tree precursors, often with a simple hydroxylation producing the pheromone. In the 1990 s there was a paradigm shift as evidence for de novo biosynthesis of pheromone components began to accumulate, and it is now recognized that most bark beetle monoterpenoid aggregation pheromone components are biosynthesized de novo. The bark beetle aggregation pheromones are released from the frass, which is consistent with the isoprenoid aggregation pheromones, including ipsdienol, ipsenol and frontalin, being produced in midgut tissue. It appears that exo-brevocomin is produced de novo in fat body tissue, and that verbenol, verbenone and verbenene are produced from dietary α-pinene in fat body tissue. Combined biochemical, molecular and functional genomics studies in Ips pini yielded the discovery and characterization of the enzymes that convert mevalonate pathway intermediates to pheromone components, including a novel bifunctional geranyl diphosphate synthase/myrcene synthase, a cytochrome P450 that hydroxylates myrcene to ipsdienol, and an oxidoreductase that interconverts ipsdienol and ipsdienone to achieve the appropriate stereochemistry of ipsdienol for pheromonal activity. Furthermore, the regulation of these genes and their corresponding enzymes proved complex and diverse in different species. Mevalonate pathway genes in pheromone producing male I. pini have much higher basal levels than in females, and feeding induces their expression. In I. duplicatus and I. pini, juvenile hormone III (JH III) induces pheromone production in the absence of feeding, whereas in I. paraconfusus and I. confusus, topically applied JH III does not induce pheromone production. In all four species, feeding induces pheromone production. While many of the details of pheromone production, including the site of synthesis, pathways and knowledge of the enzymes involved are known for Ips, less is known about pheromone production in Dendroctonus. Functional genomics studies are under way in D. ponderosae, which should rapidly increase our understanding of pheromone production in this genus. This chapter presents a historical development of what is known about pheromone production in bark beetles, emphasizes the genomic and post-genomic work in I. pini and points out areas where research is needed to obtain a more complete understanding of pheromone production. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Role: Academic Editor
                25 April 2016
                June 2016
                : 7
                : 2
                : 17
                [1 ]Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension, Rutgers University, 125A Lake Oswego Road, Chatsworth, NJ 08019, USA; crodriguez@ 123456aesop.rutgers.edu
                [2 ]Citrus Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, FL 33850, USA; stelinski@ 123456ufl.edu
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: rholdcra@ 123456rci.rutgers.edu ; Tel.: +1-609-726-1590; Fax: +1-609-726-1593

                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 15 December 2015
                : 13 April 2016

                pheromone autodetection,anosmia,electroantennogram,single-sensillum recording,pheromone-binding-protein,intra-sexual communication,plume competition,mating disruption


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