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Title: Genome-wide screening and transcriptional profile analysis of desaturase genes in the European corn borer moth

item Rooney, Alejandro - Alex
item XUE, BINGYE - Cornell University - New York
item ROELOFS, WENDELL - Cornell University - New York

Submitted to: Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/6/2011
Publication Date: 2/1/2012
Citation: Rooney, A.P., Xue, B., Roelofs, W.L. 2012. Genome-wide screening and transcriptional profile analysis of desaturase genes in the European corn borer moth. Insect Science. 19:55-63. DOI: 10.111/j.1744-7917.2011.01427.x.

Interpretive Summary: The European corn borer moth (Ostrinia nubilalis) is a serious pest of corn in the United States that causes extensive physical damage to crops resulting in roughly one billion dollar losses in productivity and yield each year. The use of synthetic sex pheromones (sex attractants) to control moth pests is an appealing alternative to the use of chemical pesticides. In this study, we describe the molecular genetics of the enzymes that encode the biochemical pathways used to synthesize the pheromones produced by the European corn borer. Our findings reveal new information on how sex pheromone biosynthesis is controlled at the genetic level in this species, which will further our ability to develop enhanced monitoring and control strategies for this species.

Technical Abstract: Acyl-CoA desaturases play a key role in the biosynthesis of female moth sex pheromones. Desaturase genes are encoded by a large multigene family, and they have been divided into 5 subgroups on the basis of biochemical functionality and phylogenetic affinity. In this study, both copy numbers and transcriptional levels of desaturase genes in the European corn borer (ECB), Ostrinia nubilalis, were investigated. (1) The results from genome-wide screening of ECB bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library indicated there are many copies of some desaturase genes in genome. (2) An open reading frame (ORF) has been isolated for the novel desaturase gene ECB ezi-D11 beta from ECB gland cDNA, and its functionality has been analyzed by two yeast expression systems. No functional activities have been detected for it. (3) The expression levels of the 4 desaturase genes both in pheromone gland and fat body of ECB and Asian corn borer (ACB), O. furnacalis, were determined by real-time PCR. In the ECB gland, Z/E11 is the most abundant, although the amount of Z/E14 is also considerable. In the ACB gland, Z/E14 is the most abundant and is 100 times more abundant than all other three combined. (4) The results from the analysis of evolution of desaturase gene transcription in the ECB, ACB and other moths indicate that the pattern of '11gene transcription is significantly different from the transcriptional patterns of other desaturase genes, and this difference is tied to the underlying nucleotide composition bias of the genome.