Submitted to: Plant Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/12/2001
Publication Date: 10/12/2001
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Insect juvenile hormones are critical for development of insects. Indeed, these hormones can be used for insect control because they stop immature insects from becoming adults. Interestingly, some plants produce juvenile hormone, presumably as a defense against insect feeding. Scientists at the University of Toronto, Ontario Canada, USDA-ARSCMAVE, Gainesville Florida and University of Wisconsin have been studying how these plants make juvenile hormone. Their research has documented that the plants biosynthesize juvenile hormone in the same way that insects produce this compound. This is important information because it shows that the biosynthetic pathway for synthesis of this type of compound is essentially the same for both plants and insects.
Technical Abstract: Juvenile hormones regulate metamorphosis and reproduction in most insect species. In the insect, these sesquiterpenoids are synthesized by small retrocerebral endocrine organs, the corpora allata, via the classical MVA acid pathway. One of these compounds, juvenile hormone III (JH III), has also been identified in the sedge, Cyperus iria L. In higher plants, biosynthesis of the sesquiterpenoid backbone may proceed through two distinct pathways: the classical mevalonate (MVA) pathway or the 2C-methyl erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway or through a combination of both. Cyperus iria cell suspension cultures were used as a model to elucidate the biosynthetic pathway of JH III in the plant . Labeling and enzyme inhibition studies demonstrate that the sesquiterpenoid backbone of JH III is, at least partially, synthesized via the MVA pathway. Precursor feeding studies also suggest that the later steps of the biosynthetic pathway are similar to the insect pathway.