Sodefrin: a novel sex pheromone in a newt.
The abdominal gland in the male red-bellied newt, Cynops pyrrhogaster, is the source of a female-attracting pheromone. An attempt was made to isolate and characterize the female-attracting pheromone in the abdominal glands of male newts. The active substance, named sodefrin (from the Japanese 'sodefuri' which means 'soliciting') has been isolated and shown to be a novel decapeptide with the sequence, Ser-Ile-Pro-Ser-Lys-Asp-Ala-Leu-Leu-Lys. Its minimum effective concentration in water is 0.1-1.0 pmol 1-1. Synthetic sodefrin shows a female-attracting activity similar to that of the native peptide, and acts through the olfactory organ of female newts. Electrophysiological studies reveal that sodefrin evokes a marked electroolfactogram response in the vomeronasal epithelium in sexually mature females and in ovariectomized females treated with prolactin and oestrogen. The pheromonal activity of sodefrin appears to be species-specific since it does not attract females of a congeneric species, the sword-tailed newt C. ensicauda. However, C. ensicauda has a variant of sodefrin differing from that in C. pyrrhogaster by substitutions of Leu for Pro at position 3 and Gln for Leu at position 8. The C. ensicauda variant sodefrin does not attract C. pyrrhogaster females. Genes encoding the sodefrin precursor protein have been cloned in both C. pyrrhogaster and C. ensicauda. Immunostaining of the abdominal gland using the antiserum against sodefrin shows that sodefrin occurs in the epithelial cells, predominantly within the secretory granules. Sodefrin content, detected by immunoassay, in C. pyrrhogaster males decreases after castration and hypophysectomy and increases markedly in the castrated and hypophysectomized newts after treatment with androgen and prolactin. This combination of hormones also enhances sodefrin mRNA content in the abdominal gland as assessed by northern blot analysis using sodefrin cDNA. (+info)
Effect of juvenile hormone on the central nervous processing of sex pheromone in an insect.
Behavioral sex pheromone responsiveness in the male moth Agrotis ipsilon was previously shown to be controlled by juvenile hormone (JH). However, this morphogenetic hormone did not change the sensitivity of antennae to sex pheromones. To analyze the possible involvement of JH in the central integration of the female-produced sex pheromone, we investigated the pheromone response of olfactory antennal lobe (AL) interneurons in male A. ipsilon as a function of age and JH status by using intracellular recordings. When the antennae were stimulated with the sex pheromone blend, the sensitivity of olfactory AL neurons increased with age, as does the JH-dependent behavioral and physiological development of A. ipsilon males. Furthermore, males surgically deprived of JH showed a significant decrease in the sensitivity of the AL neurons. JH injection in operated or in young males restored or induced, respectively, a high sensitivity of the AL neurons. JH seems likely to be involved in the plasticity of the adult insect brain by modulating the central nervous processing of olfactory information, thus allowing mate recognition and reproduction at the optimal time. (+info)
cDNA cloning of an adult male putative lipocalin specific to tergal gland aphrodisiac secretion in an insect (Leucophaea maderae).
Lma-P22 is a cuticular surface protein specific to the tergal gland secretion of Leucophaea maderae adult males which is ingested by females just before copulation. The complete Lma-P22 cDNA sequence was determined by RT-PCR using primers based on Edman degradation fragments. The recombinant protein expressed in Escherichia coli was recognized by an anti-Lma-P22 antibody. Northern blot analysis indicates that the corresponding mRNA is transcribed only in the epidermis of male tergites. Sequence analysis indicated that Lma-P22 deduced protein belongs to the lipocalin family. Lipocalins are extracellular proteins which carry hydrophobic compounds and some of them can bind sexual pheromone in vertebrates. Lma-P22 is the first example of a lipocalin-like protein involved in insect sexual behavior. (+info)
Multiple sex pheromones and receptors of a mushroom-producing fungus elicit mating in yeast.
The mushroom-producing fungus Schizophyllum commune has thousands of mating types defined, in part, by numerous lipopeptide pheromones and their G protein-linked receptors. Compatible combinations of pheromones and receptors encoded by different mating types regulate a pathway of sexual development leading to mushroom formation and meiosis. A complex set of pheromone-receptor interactions maximizes the likelihood of outbreeding; for example, a single pheromone can activate more than one receptor and a single receptor can be activated by more than one pheromone. The current study demonstrates that the sex pheromones and receptors of Schizophyllum, when expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, can substitute for endogenous pheromone and receptor and induce the yeast pheromone response pathway through the yeast G protein. Secretion of active Schizophyllum pheromone requires some, but not all, of the biosynthetic machinery used by the yeast lipopeptide pheromone a-factor. The specificity of interaction among pheromone-receptor pairs in Schizophyllum was reproduced in yeast, thus providing a powerful system for exploring molecular aspects of pheromone-receptor interactions for a class of seven-transmembrane-domain receptors common to a wide range of organisms. (+info)
Molecular cloning of newt sex pheromone precursor cDNAs: evidence for the existence of species-specific forms of pheromones.
Cloning of cDNA encoding a decapeptide pheromone (sodefrin) that attracts conspecific female newts was attempted. A cDNA clone encoding a protein consisting of 189 amino acid residues including a sodefrin sequence was isolated from a Cynops pyrrhogaster abdominal gland cDNA library. Likewise, a cDNA clone encoding a molecule comparable to the sodefrin precursor was obtained from a Cynops ensicauda abdominal gland cDNA library. This clone encoded a precursor protein of 192 amino acid residues, including a sodefrin-like peptide sequence with substitutions of two amino acid residues. This is the first report of a peptide pheromone precursor in vertebrates. (+info)
Actographic analysis of the effects of an esterase inhibitor on male moth responses to sex pheromone.
The effects of 3-octylthio-1,1,1-trifluoropropan-2-one (OTFP), a trifluoromethyl ketone that inhibits antennal esterases, on male Mamestra brassicae responses to the main pheromone component have been investigated using an actograph. This actograph used a movement detector based on the Doppler effect. The signal from the detector was digitalized and analysed on a PC microcomputer to quantify male activity. When added to the air flowing through the observation chamber, OTFP inhibited the responses of male moths to the pheromone. The number of males responding to the pheromone and the intensity of the response were decreased by OTFP. The latency of the response was increased and its duration decreased. These effects on the kinetics of the behavioural response cannot be directly correlated to the inhibition of pheromone catabolism by OTFP and other targets must be involved. The high level of inhibition of behaviour observed in presence of OTFP demonstrates the interest of trifluoromethyl ketones as mating disruption agents for pest control. (+info)
Proteinaceous pheromone affecting female receptivity in a terrestrial salamander.
A 22-kilodalton protein was isolated from the submandibular (mental) gland of the male terrestrial salamander, Plethodon jordani (family: Plethodontidae). This proteinaceous pheromone, termed plethodontid receptivity factor (PRF), was experimentally delivered to the female during courtship and shown to increase female receptivity. In most plethodontid salamanders, ovulation occurs weeks or months after insemination, so the pheromone-induced change in receptivity is the only known function of PRF. The messenger RNAs corresponding to isoforms of PRF were transcribed into complementary DNA, cloned, sequenced, and shown to have homology with cytokines of the interleukin-6 family. Pheromone activity would represent a previously unrecognized function for cytokines. (+info)
Identification and characterization of a determinant (eep) on the Enterococcus faecalis chromosome that is involved in production of the peptide sex pheromone cAD1.
Plasmid-free strains of Enterococcus faecalis secrete a peptide sex pheromone, cAD1, which specifically induces a mating response by donors carrying the hemolysin plasmid pAD1 or related elements. A determinant on the E. faecalis OG1X chromosome has been found to encode a 46.5-kDa protein that plays an important role in the production of the extracellular cAD1. Wild-type E. faecalis OG1X cells harboring a plasmid chimera carrying the determinant exhibited an eightfold enhanced production of cAD1, and plasmid-free cells carrying a mutated chromosomal determinant secreted undetectable or very low amounts of the pheromone. The production of other pheromones such as cPD1, cOB1, and cCF10 was also influenced, although there was no effect on the pheromone cAM373. The determinant, designated eep (for enhanced expression of pheromone), did not include the sequence of the pheromone. Its deduced product (Eep) contains apparent membrane-spanning sequences; conceivably it is involved in processing a pheromone precursor structure or in some way regulates expression or secretion. (+info)