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      Fatty Acids from Pool Lipids as Possible Precursors of the Male Marking Pheromone in Bumblebees

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          Abstract

          Triacylglycerols (TGs) stored in the fat bodies of bumblebee males have a species-specific composition. The striking structural similarities between TG fatty acids (FAs) and components of the male marking pheromone in certain species led to the hypothesis that FAs may serve as precursors in pheromone biosynthesis. Here, we analysed TGs from B. ruderatus, B. bohemicus, and B. campestris. Nonadec-9-ene and icos-15-en-1-ol are the main components of B. ruderatus labial gland secretion, forming up to 92% of the gland extract. The corresponding icos-11-enic and icos-15-enic acids were found in TGs at levels higher than usual for bumblebee species. We found similar relationships in B. campestris and B. bohemicus. These results suggest that FAs might be precursors of aliphatic compounds in the male pheromones. Furthermore, we report for the first time the pheromone structure of B. ruderatus males.

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          Most cited references 37

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          Insect pheromones--an overview of biosynthesis and endocrine regulation.

          This overview describes, compares, and attempts to unify major themes related to the biosynthetic pathways and endocrine regulation of insect pheromone production. Rather than developing and dedicating an entirely unique set of enzymes for pheromone biosynthesis, insects appear to have evolved to add one or a few tissue-specific auxiliary or modified enzymes that transform the products of "normal" metabolism to pheromone compounds of high stereochemical and quantitative specificity. This general understanding is derived from research on model species from one exopterygote insect order (Blattodea) and three endopterygote insect orders (Coleoptera, Diptera, and Lepidoptera). For instance, the ketone hydrocarbon contact sex pheromone of the female German cockroach, Blattella germanica, derives its origins from fatty acid biosynthesis, arising from elongation of a methyl-branched fatty acyl-CoA moiety followed by decarboxylation, hydroxylation, and oxidation. Coleopteran sex and aggregation pheromones also arise from modifications of fatty acid biosynthesis or other biosynthetic pathways, such as the isoprenoid pathway (e.g. Cucujidae, Curculionidae, and Scolytidae), or from simple transformations of amino acids or other highly elaborated host precursors (e.g. Scarabaeidae and Scolytidae). Like the sex pheromone of B. germanica, female-produced dipteran (e.g. Drosophilidae and Muscidae) sex pheromone components originate from elongation of fatty acyl-CoA moieties followed by loss of the carbonyl carbon and the formation of the corresponding hydrocarbon. Female-produced lepidopteran sex pheromones are also derived from fatty acids, but many moths utilize a species-specific combination of desaturation and chain-shortening reactions followed by reductive modification of the carbonyl carbon. Carbon skeletons derived from amino acids can also be used as chain initiating units and elongated to lepidopteran pheromones by this pathway (e.g. Arctiidae and Noctuidae). Insects utilize at least three hormonal messengers to regulate pheromone biosynthesis. Blattodean and coleopteran pheromone production is induced by juvenile hormone III (JH III). In the female common house fly, Musca domestica, and possibly other species of Diptera, it appears that during hydrocarbon sex pheromone biosynthesis, ovarian-produced ecdysteroids regulate synthesis by affecting the activities of one or more fatty acyl-CoA elongation enzyme(s) (elongases). Lepidopteran sex pheromone biosynthesis is often mediated by a 33 or 34 amino acid pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide (PBAN) through alteration of enzyme activities at one or more steps prior to or during fatty acid synthesis or during modification of the carbonyl group. Although a molecular level understanding of the regulation of insect pheromone biosynthesis is in its infancy, in the male California fivespined ips, Ips paraconfusus (Coleoptera: Scolytidae), JH III acts at the transcriptional level by increasing the abundance of mRNA for 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase, a key enzyme in de novo isoprenoid aggregation pheromone biosynthesis.
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            Male labial gland secretions and mitochondrial DNA markers support species status of Bombus cryptarum and B. magnus (Hymenoptera, Apidae)

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              Volatile Components of the Cephalic Marking Secretion of Male Bumble Bees.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Molecules
                Molecules
                molecules
                Molecules
                MDPI
                1420-3049
                21 February 2014
                February 2014
                : 19
                : 2
                : 2330-2343
                Affiliations
                Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Flemingovo nám. 2, Prague 166 10, Czech Republic; E-Mails: kofronova@ 123456uochb.cas.cz (E.K.); adamnekola@ 123456centrum.cz (A.N.); cvacka@ 123456uochb.cas.cz (J.C.); kindl@ 123456uochb.cas.cz (J.K.)
                Author notes
                [* ]Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: irena@ 123456uochb.cas.cz ; Tel.: +420-220-183-298.
                Article
                molecules-19-02330
                10.3390/molecules19022330
                6271375
                24566306
                © 2014 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 license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

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