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Timing of Male Sex Pheromone Biosynthesis in a Butterfly - Different Dynamics under Direct or Diapause Development
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemistry, Organic Chemistry.
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemistry, Organic Chemistry.
2012 (English)In: Journal of Chemical Ecology, ISSN 0098-0331, E-ISSN 1573-1561, Vol. 38, no 5, 584-591 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The life history traits and behavior of the butterfly are well-known, as the species is often used as a model organism for evolutionary and ecological studies. The species has two or more generations per year in the major part of its temperate distribution, and as different selection pressures affect the different generations, both behavioral and physiological seasonal polyphenisms have been shown previously. Here, we explored the dynamics of male sex pheromone production. The two generations are shown to have significantly different scent compositions early in life; the direct developers-who have shorter time for pupal development-need the first 24 hr of adult life after eclosion to synthesize the sex pheromone citral (geranial and neral 1:1)-whereas the diapausing individuals who have spent several months in the pupal stage eclose with adult scent composition. Resource allocation and biosynthesis also were studied in greater detail by feeding butterflies C-13 labeled glucose either in the larval or adult stage, and recording incorporation into geranial, neral, and other volatiles produced. Results demonstrate that the pheromone synthesized by newly eclosed adult males is based on materials ingested in the larval stage, and that adult butterflies are able to synthesize the pheromone components geranial and neral and the related alcohols also from adult intake of glucose. In summary, our study shows that time-stress changes the timing in biosynthesis of the complete pheromone between generations, and underpins the importance of understanding resource allocation and the physiological basis of life history traits.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 38, no 5, 584-591 p.
Keyword [en]
Aphrodisiac, Citral, Green-veined white butterfly, Polyphenism, Sex pheromone
National Category
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-98019DOI: 10.1007/s10886-012-0126-6ISI: 000304208300016ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84861341426OAI: diva2:535028
Swedish Research Council, MTT2

QC 20120619

Available from: 2012-06-19 Created: 2012-06-18 Last updated: 2014-03-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Pheromone production in the butterfly Pieris napi L
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Pheromone production in the butterfly Pieris napi L
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Aphrodisiac and anti-aphrodisiac pheromone production and composition in the green-veined white butterfly Pieris napi L. were investigated.

Aphrodisiac pheromone biosynthesis had different time constraints in butterflies from the diapausing and directly developing generations.

Effects of stable isotope incorporation in adult butterfly pheromone, in the nectar and flower volatiles of  host plants from labeled substrates were measured by solid phase microextraction and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry.

A method to fertilize plants with stable isotopes was developed and found to be an effective method to investigate the transfer of pheromone building blocks from flowering plants to butterflies. The anti-aphrodisiac methyl salicylate was not biosynthesized from phenylalanine in flowers of Alliaria petiolata.

Both aphrodisiac and anti-aphrodisiac pheromones in P.napi are produced not only from resources acquired in the larval stage, but also from nutritional resources consumed intheadult stage. Males of P. napi produce the anti-aphrodisiac pheromone from both the essential amino acid L-phenylalanine and from common flower fragrance constituents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2014. 40 p.
TRITA-CHE-Report, ISSN 1654-1081 ; 2014:8
Pieris, Lepidoptera, pheromone, aphrodisiaca, antiaphrodisiaca, biosynthesis, flower volatiles, stable isotopes, incorporation, neral, geranial, methyl salicylate, benzyl cyanide, L - phenylalanine
National Category
Natural Sciences
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-142551 (URN)978-91-7595-036-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-03-26, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)

QC 20140311

Available from: 2014-03-11 Created: 2014-03-06 Last updated: 2014-03-11Bibliographically approved

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Murtazina, RushanaBorg-Karlson, Anna-Karin
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