Submitted to: Journal of Entomological Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/4/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Sex pheromones are chemical signals that are used by insects to locate and sexually stimulate their mates. These chemicals are important in insect reproduction. The catabolic pathway by which the European corn borer clears pheromone from its antennae after it perceives the chemical signal was poorly understood. Using radioactive sex pheromone, a radioactive sex pheromone analog, and an enzyme inhibitor it was discovered that the primary path used by the moth to remove pheromone from their antennae was an oxidative pathway called, beta-oxidation. This pathway may be targeted for interference and thereby lead to new way to disrupt mating of the pest.
Technical Abstract: Experiments were conducted using tritiated European corn borer pheromone, a tritiated fluorinated analog of the European corn borer pheromone, 2-fluoro-(Z)-[11, 12-T]-11-tetradecen-1-ol acetate, and methyl-4-bromocrotonate (MBC) to determine if pheromone catabolism proceeds on the moth's antennae via the beta-oxidatio pathway of fatty acid degradation. When antennae were treated with tritiated natural pheromone plus MBC (a precursor of the known beta-oxidation inhibitor, 4-bromocrotonic acid) catabolism of the pheromone was significantly inhibited. When the 2-fluoro pheromone analog was applied alone to antennae, it was hydrolyzed to the corresponding alcohol but was not degraded further. MBC had no effect on catabolism of the 2-fluoro analog and results show that 2-fluoro substitution alone inhibited entrance of the compound into beta-oxidation. The combined results provide evidence that beta-oxidation is the primary oxidative pathway by which pheromone is degraded on the moth's antennae